Belinda Johnson EN 371-51 Dr. La Guardia, David November 15, 2011 A. One pro/con response to a recent article or articles of criticism on any of the texts in the course. Pros and Cons of Emily Dickinson As discussed in class, the difficulty of poetry could go a far distance. There is no introduction, background or prologue to poetry. It is often a story within a few lines. So, when reading poetry it is important to recognize and understand the metaphors and the symbolism that it contains. It is also critical to know all the definitions of the words in the poem.
When reading the late, great Emily Dickinson's poems the comprehension criteria of poetry should not fall short. Along with Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson has been referred to as the grandparent of poetry. She has live a recluse life, one of which she preferred to spend in confinement. Very private, Dickinson has written hundreds of poems, 1,775 to be exact. Yet, only seven of her poems were published during her life time, none with her full consent. Her criteria of a poem was this, "If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me I know that is poetry.
If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way. " In poetry, Dickinson is often fascinated by nature, death, pain, love and God. In her poems Dickinson often speaks elliptically. That said, when reading Dickinson's poems, we must dot the I's and cross the T's that we think are not L's. We must make our own interpretation because Emily would not have wanted us to interpret them at all. This is where the window is open to much criticism that maybe a pro or con to how others view Dickinson and her work.
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This is where we unknowingly hyperbolae words or phrases that should be litotilate. With the complexity of some of Dickinson's poems, it is always nice to find reviews on Dickinson and her works. There are many ways Dickinson's poems could be interpreted and some of her poems often give reason for others. For example, one of her short poems states, "The Riddle we can guess/We speedily dispise-/ Not anything is stale so long/ As Yesterday's surprise-". Emily has many poems that are riddles. This poem explains that a riddle should not be easily figured out or it is not a riddle at all and is often disliked.
Rad also We grow accustomed to the dark
This poem is also stating that no riddle should be too hard to crack and once it is crack it quickly become old news. This goes back to a poem being an explanation in just a few lines. I placed my understanding of this poem, yet a previous professor of mines by the name of Thomas Hayes would disagree. He believes that this poem does not explains Dickinson’s poetic riddles, but is symbolically explaining that once we find out what is going to happen in the future, it quickly becomes the past and we are no longer interested.
This is an example of how criticism and interpretation can be taken in many ways with Dickinson's poems. There are numerous articles of Emily Dickenson in the New York Times. Most of which praise her as a writer, a poet, and an artist. In the art review section of the NY Times journalist, Genocchio had this to say about Dickinson, "Dickinson’s posthumous popularity has since grown to a point where, along with Walt Whitman, she is widely admired as one of the two best American poets of the 19th century. Genocchio has written a full article on Emily Dickinson's inspirational poems. He explains that because of her seclusion from the outside world and even though she has two biographies, the best way to understand Dickinson is through her poems. It is through her poems and her delicate choice of words that we find her love for nature or as a philosopher named Kant would say, her art and beauty. This article is very helpful to those that have trouble understanding Dickinson as a writer because Genocchio does not bash Dickinson for her complexity, but embraces it.
This article connects Dickinson to artists such as painters which may be a more simplistic way to view Dickinson's work because she often tells a story through her vision of things. Genocchio discusses how Dickinson is the inspiration to a numerous amount of paintings. She is the influential drive of many artist. Emily Dickinson is the brush of da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Margo Jefferson is another journalist of the New York Times that wrote an article on Emily Dickinson. Jefferson states, "Dickinson is honored, even worshiped by writers (including me).
She is studied ravenously by scholars. Plenty of readers love her. But plenty are still put off. " This is true; many understand and appreciate Dickinson for her contribution to poetry. Yet, many do not understand her life style, her poetry and her reasoning of things. Some of Dickinson's views are too complex to comprehend, her feelings are sometimes intricate and brutally honest and this could intimidate or maybe even deter some readers and writers. Jefferson also states, "Dickinson's fame has always been fed by myth.
She was the virgin poetess dressed in white, the tremulous daughter who never left her father's house, the maiden who turned to art because she was thwarted in love. " This critique I do not agree with. Dickinson is not a product myths, she is not a story told but is a story that is read. Though her story may make her seem as that of a virgin poetess but it is through poetry that she has climaxed to the top. She did not turn to art because she was missing love, but her poems produce both art and love of many things to her readers. I think this article is very opinionated and could easily be misleading.
It is criticism that is based off emotion and not fact that gives Dickinson a bad name. It says a lot about the ignorance of the critic. One of the most common sites to browse when having issues fully understanding a piece of literature or when and extra analysis is needed is Spark Notes. Spark Notes prepare character analysis, background analysis and even explains themes, motifs and symbolism of different text. When reviewing the analysis of Dickinson and her poems on Spark Notes some of the ideas and understandings were useful and some weren't. Some of the analysis I agreed with and others I did not.
For example Spark Notes state, "she explores her own feelings with painstaking and often painful honesty but never loses sight of their universal poetic application; one of her greatest techniques is to write about the particulars of her own emotions in a kind of universal homiletic or adage-like tone (“After great pain, a formal feeling comes”) that seems to describe the reader’s mind as well as it does the poet’s. " This is very true about Dickinson. It is often easy to relate to Dickinson in her poems because she makes her personal feelings universal and she often includes the reader with poems such as "I'm nobody! Who re you? " or "The Soul selects her own society". Yet, Spark Note goes on to say, "Dickinson is not a “philosophical poet”; unlike Wordsworth or Yeats, she makes no effort to organize her thoughts and feelings into a coherent, unified worldview. Rather, her poems simply record thoughts and feelings experienced naturally over the course of a lifetime devoted to reflection and creativity: the powerful mind represented in these records is by turns astonishing, compelling, moving, and thought-provoking, and emerges much more vividly than if Dickinson had orchestrated her work according to a preconceived philosophical system. Although Dickinson's poems may seem random, when reading them they appear amalgamated and deeply expressed whether it is four lines or ten. She is very philosophical in her words and had nothing but time in her private life to invest in her preconceived thoughts, reflection and creativity. Though I do not fully agree with this particular statement by Spark Notes, I believe that its analysis article properly describes and explains Dickinson and her poetry.
Emily Dickinson is often praised and criticized for her work of art. Though she is brutally honest and intimidating in her poetry, she brings out the beauty of life and nature. She may sometimes seem intrinsic in thought, but she is morally and universally simplistic. Dickinson tells stories through her poetry and though she may fiddle with riddles and appear difficult to understand, it parallels her life. This is why she is often criticized. All critiques have its pros and cons, but not all of it is helpful.
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