Friday, December 11, 2009


Tell all the Truth but tell it slant---
Success in Cirrcuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightening to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind---

i can't think of a major poet who was ignored & mistreated as badly as dickinson, mostly due to her gender but also due to her otherworldly vision & style. the work endured horrendous, nearly incapacitating, editing. her syntax & punctuation were cleaned up. her gathering various poems into "fasciles," fourty small bound pamphlets, was ignored too. the "books" were hand stitched & assembled & clearly revolved around different themes, indicating she had a clear vision of what she was doing. as much as she's been protrayed as a nearly "idiot savant" or "outsider" poet, the work stands there as utter refutation of such notions.

btw, scholars have put the fasciles back together. for example, fascile 16 consists of these eleven poems:
* Before I got my eye put out--
* Of nearness to her sundered Things
* Tie the Strings to my Life, My Lord,
* I like a look of Agony
* I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
* "Tis so appalling--it exhilarates--
* How noteless Men and Pleids, stand,
* When we stand on top of things--
* 'Twas just this time, last year, I died.
* Afraid! Of whom am I afraid?
* He showed me Hights I never saw--

here is a webpage that discusses this aspect of dickinson's art.
i'll also mention the poet susan howe's astonishing book, my emily dickinson, & susan cameron's groundbreaking book that first addressed the "fasciles" issue & understood just what they meant, choosing not choosing.

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