Thursday, March 23, 2006

What I'm doing with Emily

Yes, I'm still with her. Now I am reading each of her poems contained in the three volumes published in 1890, 1891 and 1896 by Mabel Loomis Todd and am labeling all first lines of verse that fall into one of these categories:
  1. love joy, love lost, secret love, despair of love
  2. the bee, and
  3. favorites that I find along the way
I'll do the same itemization with Bolts of Melody.

I'm also trying to create a lexicon of ED terms & phrases as several repeat with evident personal meaning ("paradise" "Calvary" "Eden" "the bee") and some words can yield a symbolic/coded interpretation.

I've ordered the 1945 Johnson collection (Complete Poems) which lists ALL of Emily Dickinson's poems in chronological order. That would be the first three volumes published by M.L. Todd, subsequent volumes published by Madame Bianchi and the final poems that were first introduced by Millicent Todd Bingham (Bolts of Melody). My plan is to trace her life through her poems, mainly her passion and her agony. I want to build an image of Dickinson and yes, I have preconceived ideas, and am hoping they'll be substantiated. And yes, I know about the self fulfilling prophecy, and how causative my ideas are as far as influencing outcome. But I will make an effort at objectivity. Or maybe not.

Two more things: where are her diaries? yes, she is a genius & I am in love with her words.


Robin said...

Sounds like a great project. What a wonderous body of work to immerse yourself in.

Ann said...

Robin -

yes indeed! I was amazed at the passion in many of her poems. It's true that she got a bad rep!

a little bump tho - I just read somewhere that Emily didn't date her poems, and that any dating has been done thru her handwriting. That's going to make my work harder.

I wonder who the ED scholars are nowadays?

Kay Day said...

I can't even say her name without a sigh. A poet to measure all poetry by, that's what she was. Is!

Somewhere in the back of my brain is an ED scholar. It will come to me and I will let you know!--best to you, Kay Day

Kay Day said...

I am slow.

The fellow I thought of (finally!) regarding ED is Dr. Carl Horner--he directs the creative writing program at Flagler University. He is a super interesting person. To email him, you have to be on his list--I'll tell him to stop by your blog.

best, Kay Day

Ann said...

Hi Kay -

Glad to see you around these parts.

Yes yes yes on our friend ED. I sometimes wonder how she contained everything that was in her.

I hadn't heard of Dr. Horner & would love to strike up a conversation if he's willing.

Thanks for coming by - twice - and for the name.