Thursday, March 3, 2016
Classics Club 25: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
However, there were some advantages to this concentrated reading. I felt like I gained a good understanding of Dickinson's style and themes as a whole. If I was presented with a group of previously undiscovered poems by a variety of poets I'm confident I could correctly identify any written by Dickinson. When my children were younger we read a series of books about artists by Richard Muhlberger- What Makes a Monet a Monet? and the like. If someone were to publish a similar series about poets I feel I could make a good fist of authoring the volume on Emily Dickinson! Short, lyric poems, often about nature or domestic affairs. Lots of imagery from nature and religion. A focus on love, death and immortality. It seems that the dash was her preferred punctuation mark and she tended to capitalise all nouns, not just those at the start of a line. For seemingly simple poems (short stanzas with short lines) her use of allegory, symbolism, metaphors from a wide variety of arenas makes them surprisingly dense. There is definitely more to them than first meets the eye.
While I enjoy Emily Dickinson's poems and recommend them if you're unfamiliar with her, I suggest using The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson as a resource to dip in and out of as the mood takes you. For me reading it in one chunk felt like work and took away much of the pleasure of the individual poems.