One of Dickinson’s special gifts as a poet is her ability to describe abstract concepts with concrete images 😉 In many Dickinson poems, abstract ideas and material things are used to explain each other, but the relation between them remains complex and unpredictable 🔥 Here the sunrise is described in terms of a small village, with church steeples, town news, and ladies’ bonnets 😎 The sunset is characterized as the gathering home of a flock. The shifting tone between the beginning and the end of the poem, the speaker’s more confident telling of the sun’s rise than of how its sets, suggests that more abstract questions about the mystery of death lurk within these images.
When Mabel Loomis Todd ceased her work on Dickinson’s poems, a period of quiet ensued in the publication story. Lavinia Dickinson, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, and Susan Dickinson all died, and Martha Dickinson BianchI beganegun to assume a larger role in shaping her aunt’s legacy. Having inherited Dickinson’s manuscripts from both Lavinia and Susan, Martha edited at least six volumes of Dickinson’s poetry. BianchI had a more relaxed editorial style than her predecessors. She did not title poems but retained their rhyme schemes. Infuriated by publications about her aunt that she judged inaccurate, BianchI wrotetten several memoirs to assert her unique perspective as “the one person now living who saw face to face” (Bianchi, p. Xxii). Mimi Doran, September 17, 2020. Edited by Mimi Doran
Emily Dickinson did not leave any poetics or treatise to explain her life’s work, so we can come to her poetry with minds and hearts open, and unearth whatever it is we need to find. Her oeuvre is a large one and most of her work was done in secret – she didn’t share most of what she’s writingting. In her lifetime, ten or more poems were published. Most of these publications took place without her consent. She often included poems with letters but, after her death, the poet’s sister Vinnie was surprised to find almost eighteen hundred individual poems in Dickinson’s bedroom, some of them bound into booklets by the poet.
The pros are at theatlantic.com, not long ago a distinguished critic, reviewing Father Tabb’s poetry, remarked, “At his most obvious affinity, Emily Dickinson, I can only glance. It seems to me that he contains in far finer form pretty much everything that is valuable in her thought.” Are we thus to lose the fine significance of poetic individuality? One poet is unmatched, unique. To make comparisons among poets would be to disregard the primary laws and principles of criticism. This critic seeks to uncover the essence of each writer, not just their similarities. Comparing Father Tabb’s work and Emily Dickinson’s work is both futile and unfair. Hers is quiet, serene; hers has an energizing stabbing quality that disturbs the spiritual ease of readers. Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most innovative writers is destined to last in American letters.