"Starts off as a manifesto but becomes richer and more suggestive as it develops."—The New York Sun
With exacting rigor and wit, Howe pulls Dickinson free of all the sterile and stuffy belle-of-Amherst cotton wool and shows the poet in touch with elemental forces of nature, and as a prophet in all her radical zealotry and poetic glory. Her
Emily Dickinson is a unique American genius, a demon lover of poetry—no neurasthenic spider artist. Howe draws into her discussion Browning, Wuthering Heights
, the Civil War, "Master," the great Puritan preachers, captivity narratives, Shakespeare, and phantom lovers. As she chases away narrow and reductive feminist readings of the poet, Howe finds instead a radically powerful and true feminism at work in Dickinson, focusing the whole on that heart-stopping poem "My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun."
A remarkable and passionate poet-on-poet engagement, My Emily Dickinson
frees a great poet from the fetters of being read as a special female neurotic, and sets her against a fiery open sky where "Perception of an object means loosing and losing it...only Mutability certain." My Emily Dickinson
won The Before Columbus Foundation Book Award.