Emily Dickinson: death takes life in poetry
Emily Dickinson is regarded as “one of the greatest American poets that have ever existed.”(Benfey 5) The unique qualities of her brief, but emotional, poems were so uncommon that they made her peerless in a sense that her writing could not be compared to. Her diverse poetic
character could be directly connected to her tragic and unusual life. The poems that she wrote were often about death and things of that nature, and can be related to her distressed existence. Dickinson’s forthright examination of her philosophical and religious skepticism, her unorthodox attitude toward her sex and calling, and her distinctive style—characterized by elliptical compressed expression, striking imagery and innovative poetic structure—have earned widespread acclaim, and her poems have become some of the best loved in American literature.
Although only seven of Dickinson’s poems were published during her lifetime and her work drew harsh
criticism when it first appeared, many of her short lyrics on the subjects of nature, love, death, and immortality are now considered among the most emotionally and intellectually profound in the English language.
Biographers generally agree that, “Emily Dickinson experienced an emotional crisis of an undetermined nature in the early 1860’s.”(Cameron 26) Dickinson’s antisocial behavior became excessive following 1869. “Her refusal to leave her home or to meet visitors, her gnomic sayings, and her habit of always wearing a white dress earned her a reputation of eccentricity among her neighbors.”(Cameron 29) Her intellectual and social isolation further increased when her father died suddenly in 1874 and he was left to care for her invalid mother. The death of her mother in 1882 followed two years later by the death of Judge Otis P. Lord, a close family friend and her most satisfying romantic attachment, contributed to what Dickinson described as an ‘attack of nerves’.”(Cameron 29)
Emily Dickinson’s distressed state of mind is believed to have inspired her to write more abundantly: in 1862 alone she is thought to have composed over 300 poems.
“Her absorption in the world of feeling found some relief in associations with nature; yet although she loved nature and wrote many nature lyrics, her interpretations are always more or less swayed by her own state of being.”(Benfey 22) “The quality of her writing is profoundly stirring, because it betrays, not the intellectual pioneer, but the acutely observant woman, whose capacity for feeling was profound.”(Bennet 61)
All seven of the poems published during her lifetime were published anonymously and some were done without consent. “The editors of the periodicals in which her lyrics appeared made significant alterations to them in attempt to regularize the meter and grammar, consequently discouraging Dickinson from seeking further publication.”(Fuller 17)
When her poetry was first published in a complete unedited edition after her death, Emily was acknowledged as a
poet who was truly ahead of her time. However, there is no doubt that critics are justified in complaining that, “Her work was often cryptic in thought and unmelodious in expression.”(Bennet 64)
Today, an increasing number of studies from diverse critical viewpoints are devoted to her life and works, thus securing Dickinson’s status as a major poet.
“There’s a certain slant of light” is a poem in which seasonal change becomes a symbol of inner change. The relationship of inner and outer change is contrasted. “It begins with a moment of arrest that signals the nature and meaning of winter. It tells that summer passed but insists that the passing occurred so slowly that it did not seem like the betrayal that it really was.”(Bloom 122) The comparison to the slow fading of grief also implies a failure of awareness on the speaker’s part. The second and third lines begin a description of a transitional period, and their claim that the speaker felt no betrayal shows that she had to struggle against this feeling. The next eight lines create, “A personified scene of late summer or early autumn. The distilled quiet allows time for contemplation.”(Eberwein 354) The “twilight long begun” suggests that the speaker is getting used to the coming season and is aware that change was occurring before she truly noticed it. “These lines reinforce the poems initial description of a slow lapse and also convey the idea that foreknowledge of decline is part of the human condition.”(Bloom 124) The personification of the polite but coldly determined guest, who insists on leaving no matter how earnestly she is asked to stay, is convincing on the realistic level. “On the level of analogy, the courtesy probably corresponds to the restrained beauty of the season, and the cold determination corresponds to the inevitability of the year’s cycle.”(Bloom 122) The movement from identification with sequestered nature to nature as a departing figure communicates the involvement of humans in the seasonal life cycle. “The last four lines shift the metaphor and relax the tension. Summer leaves by secret means. The missing wing & keel suggest a mysterious fluidity—greater than that of air or water. Summer escapes into the beautiful, which is a repository of creation that promises to send more beauty into the world.”(Eberwein 355) The balanced picture of the departing guest has prepared us for this low-key conclusion.
A number of Emily Dickinson’s poems about poetry relating the poet to an audience probably have their genesis in her own frustrations and uncertainties about the publication of her own work. “This is my letter to the World,” written about 1862, the year of Emily Dickinson’s greatest productivity looks forward to the fate of her poems after her death. The world that never wrote to her is her whole potential audience who will not recognize her talent or aspirations. “She gives nature credit for her heart and material in a half apologetic manner, as if she were merely the carrier of nature’s message.”(Bloom 297) The fact that this message is committed to people who will come after her transfers the uncertainty of her achievement to its future observers, as if they were somehow responsible for its neglect while she was alive. “The plea that she be judged tenderly for nature's sake combines an insistence on imitation of nature as the basis of her art with a special plea for tenderness towards her own fragility or sensitivity; but poetry should be judged by how well the poet achieves his or her intention and not by the poem alone, as Emily Dickinson surely knew.”(Bloom 297) “This particular poem’s generalization about her isolation—and its apologetic tone—tends toward the sentimental, but one can detect some desperation underneath the softness.”(Bloom 298)
Her poem, “Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant--” immediately reminds us of all the indirection in Emily Dickinson’s poems: her condensations, vague references, renowned puzzles, and perhaps even her slant rhymes. “The idea of artistic success lying in circuit—that is, in confusion and symbolism—goes well with the stress on amazing sense and staggering paradoxes which we have seen her express elsewhere.”(Eberwein 171) The notion that Truth is too much for our infirm delight is puzzling. “On the very personal level for Emily’s mind, “infirm delight” would correspond to her fear or experience and her preference for anticipation over fulfillment. For her, Truth’s surprise had to remain in the world of imagination. However, superb surprise sounds more delightful than frightening.”(Bloom 89) Lightning indeed is a threat because of its physical danger and its accompanying thunder is scary, but it is not clear how dazzling truth can blind us—unless it is the deepest of spiritual truths. These lines can be simplified to mean that raw experience needs artistic elaboration to give it depth and to enable us to contemplate it. The contemplation theme is reasonably convincing but, “The poem coheres poorly and uses an awed and apologetic tone to cajole us into disregarding its faults.”(Bloom 89)
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Emily dickinsons reflection of god Emily Dickinson had a view of God and His power that was very strange for a person of her time. Dickinson questioned God, His power, and the people in the society around her. She did not believe in going to church because she felt as though she couldn't find any answers there. She asked God Emily Dickenson (it Was A Quiet Way) Sample essay topic, essay writing: Emily Dickenson (it Was A Quiet Way) - 285 words
Emily Dickinson's poem "It was a quiet way" is the story of her lover and the feelings she has when she's in his company. She describes how the world changes and becomes almost unfamiliar simply because the only thing that matters Comparison of Two Poems by Emily Dickinson About Death Two Poems, Two Ideas, One Author. Two of Emily Dickinson's poems, "Because I Could Not Stop For Death" and "I Heard A Fly Buzz-When I Died," are both about one of life's few certainties: death. However, that is where the similarities end. Although both poems were created less than a year apart by the same A Biography of Emily Dickinson’s Life and Writing Emily Dickinson was a woman who lived in times that are more traditional; her life experiences influence and help us to understand the dramatic and poetic lines in her writing. Although Dickinson’s poetry can often be defined as sad and moody, we can find the use of humor and irony in many of her poems. Emily dickinson and death as a theme in her poetry Although she lived a seemingly secluded life, Emily Dickinson's many encounters with death influenced many of her poems and letters. Perhaps one of the most ground breaking and inventive poets in American history, Dickinson has become as well known for her bizarre and eccentric life as for her incredible poems and letters. Numbering over 1,700,