had just jumped on with my thoughts collected, when I saw Douglas's post...
much the same as my response. I've always seen Dickinson's poems -- within
the "limits" their self-created worlds -- unfolding as a phenomenology of
desire, and that's why, when I read them as a single body of work, they echo
each other so hauntingly that they seem like endless variations of the same
theme, while moving through wide registers of emotional states springing
from many essential human situations.
Also, when taken as a whole, I find her poetry's lyricism seems to be more a
form of mysticism -- perhaps the most extreme form of mysticism -- an
attempt on the part of evocation itself to evoke the ineffable in and
through itself. It is a going-in-circles without end, without completion,
trying to explain. All of the work, read as a whole, says we can say of
anything only, it is.
I also have to admit I haven't read Larkin's essay, but now plan to. Thank
you for the cite.
> >The last time I lingered with Emily Dickinson I began to feel she had
> >abandoned many of her poems as having insoluble problems, and that
> >them to go on after the end' feeling that many readers have is a symptom
> >this. Philip Larkin's little review of ED in Required Writing grumbles
> >something like this, I seem to recall.
> That's interesting, Max.
> When I read the whole volume, it took on the nature, almost, of a strange
> modenrist novel for me. But then, I tend to agree with Susan Howe's take
> _My Emily Dickinson_, where, in so many words, she makes the case for
> Dickinson as a modernist strange attractor, one of the great influences of
> te latter half of the 20th century. I can't recommend the Howe book highly
> enough. Another of those poet's works of criticism that transcends the
> genre (criticism). I guess what some readers might see as a sense of
> abandonment or whatever is a sense of openness to others, a refusal of
> closure that many contemporary writers actively seek in their work.
> Douglas Barbour
> Department of English
> University of Alberta
> Edmonton Alberta Canada T6G 2E5
> (h)  436 3320 (b)  492 0521
> The blank page
> as merely an interval or
> an intrusion. We could not rescue it
> nor could we huddle, as if the page were
> big enough.
> Kathleen Fraser