My Emily Dickinson

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New Directions Publishing, Nov 15, 2007 - Literary Criticism - 160 pages

"Starts off as a manifesto but becomes richer and more suggestive as it develops."—The New York Sun

For Wallace Stevens, "Poetry is the scholar's art." Susan Howe—taking the poet-scholar-critics Charles Olson, H.D., and William Carlos Williams (among others) as her guides—embodies that art in her 1985 My Emily Dickinson (winner of the Before Columbus Foundation Book Award). Howe shows ways in which earlier scholarship had shortened Dickinson's intellectual reach by ignoring the use to which she put her wide reading. Giving close attention to the well-known poem, "My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun," Howe tracks Dickens, Browning, Emily Brontė, Shakespeare, and Spenser, as well as local Connecticut River Valley histories, Puritan sermons, captivity narratives, and the popular culture of the day. "Dickinson's life was language and a lexicon her landscape. Forcing, abbreviating, pushing, padding, subtracting, riddling, interrogating, re-writing, she pulled text from text...."

 

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User Review  - dasam - LibraryThing

Howe's short book is an illuminating take on one of my favorite poets, focusing in particular on a careful reading of "My Life Stood---a Loaded Gun." Howe does an excellent job of showing the poetic ... Read full review

My Emily Dickinson

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Howe's 1985 volume took Emily Dickinson study to another level, as she revealed new depth in the poet's work undiscovered by previous critics. Howe traces the many influences on the poems, ranging ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

Susan Howe has won the Bollingen Prize, the Frost Medal, and the Griffin Award. She is the author of such seminal works as Debths, That This, The Midnight, My Emily Dickinson, The Quarry, and The Birthmark.

Eliot Weinberger is an essayist, editor, and translator. He lives in New York City.

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