Emily Dickinson and Contemporary Writers

Overview


Thomas Gardner argues in this original study that we are just beginning, as a culture, to understand the far-reaching implications of Emily Dickinson's work. Looking at the way quite different writers have enacted and fleshed-out crucial aspects of her poetry, Gardner gives us a Dickinson for our times. Beginning with the work of Lucie Brock-Broido, Alice Fulton, Kathleen Fraser, and Robert Hass, Gardner moves on to analytical chapters and fully developed conversations with four writers in whose work he finds ...
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Overview


Thomas Gardner argues in this original study that we are just beginning, as a culture, to understand the far-reaching implications of Emily Dickinson's work. Looking at the way quite different writers have enacted and fleshed-out crucial aspects of her poetry, Gardner gives us a Dickinson for our times. Beginning with the work of Lucie Brock-Broido, Alice Fulton, Kathleen Fraser, and Robert Hass, Gardner moves on to analytical chapters and fully developed conversations with four writers in whose work he finds the fullest extension of Dickinson's legacy. The interviews with these four--Marilynne Robinson, Charles Wright, Susan Howe, and Jorie Graham--provide a particularly intimate look at writers at work.

In returning to Dickinson's work, Gardner observes, contemporary writers have powerfully extended what he calls her poetics of broken responsiveness in which an acknowledgment of limits leads, paradoxically, to a deep engagement with a world beyond our capacity to master or possess. In the hands of our most important poets and novelists, Dickinson's "emptying of the articulate self" has become a potent means of addressing some of our culture's fundamental erotic, religious, philosophical, and social questions. A Door Ajar makes visible the Dickinson that will matter to writers and readers over the next several decades.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"What a brilliant book! A Door Ajar cuts across genres and eras to reveal the continuing influence of Emily Dickinson in American writing by thinking about and talking to some of our best writers of prose and poetry. This book offers a chance to spend time with some of the keenest literary intelligence we have. It's a feast."--Robert Hass, University of California at Berkeley

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195174939
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 7/1/2004
  • Pages: 270
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Gardner is Clifford Cutchins III Professor of English at Virginia Tech. Among his other books are Discovering Ourselves in Whitman: The Contemporary American Long Poem and Regions of Unlikeness: Explaining Contemporary Poetry.

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Table of Contents


Introduction     3
Enlarging Loneliness: Marilynne Robinson's Housekeeping     23
Interview with Marilynne Robinson     47
Restructured and Restrung: Charles Wright's Zone Journals     70
Interview with Charles Wright     95
Words Sound Other Ways: Susan Howe's Prose     109
Interview with Susan Howe     138
Meeting Apart: Jorie Graham's Swarm     166
Interview with Jorie Graham     196
Conclusion     227
Notes     235
Index     251
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