Friday, August 14, 2009

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is my favorite poet, and I choose to write my master's thesis about her poetry. I am keeping this blog with the goal of writing in it every day-- writing about the poet, her poetry, and my experiences with her writings.

I hope to become one of the many experts about Dickinson, but I am not the expert by any means. Much of her life remains a complete mystery, and no one will ever truly know the "real" Dickinson.

It is, however, my firm belief that she was not coy girlish woman who wrote nice little poems about nature and immortality. One read through her poem "She dealt her pretty words like blades" should bring that misconception to a crashing halt. Neither do I believe she was some kind of New England spinster wacko living in her own fantasy world. No, she did not marry. Yes, she was rather reclusive. Yes, her imagination is astonishing, but she was hardly a spectacle.

I think it's time for a newer look at Dickinson, really an approach that many scholars have proposed for years but which teachers and others overlook in favor of the quick, historically held labels of Dickinson as a sap or kook. She was a real, breathing person with hopes and dreams and pain and disappointment. I hope through this writing to understand her better as a person, though much of what I make of her will inevitably be some of what I want her to be. For those of you who have seen the movie Julie & Julia, you'll remember that Julie's perceptions and ideas of who and what Julia Child was reflected Julie. A small side note: this blog is partly inspired by that movie and the Julie/Julia project.

I have no intention of covering all of Dickinson's poetry (at least 1789 poems) in the next year. To do so would drastically short change the works and the brilliant mind that was Dickinson. Her language is dense and has to be processed. This project may very well last beyond a full year, maybe 5 years, maybe more than that. Comments are welcome, but please keep comments applicable to Dickinson and her work and understand that I'm a limited person only offering my opinions. Additionally, these thoughts are my original thoughts, unless I reference a writer, and I consider them my intellectual property. Plagarism in all forms is only a temporary solution and has severe consequences. Welcome and happy reading.

One final note, which I may expound upon in later entries: all of my quotes from Dickinson's poems will be taken from R.W. Franklin's book The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition. Each poem will be follwed with the letter "F" in parenthesis along with a number. The "F" indicates it is numbered according to Franklin's system and the number is the number he assigned to the poem quoted. Any poetry not by Dickinson will be followed with the name of the poet in parenthesis.

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