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Visiting Emily: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Emily Dickinson

Overview

This unique anthology gathers work by eighty poets inspired by Emily Dickinson. Beginning with Hart Crane's 1927 poem "To Emily Dickinson" and moving forward through the century to such luminary figures as Archibald MacLeish, John Berryman, Yvor Winters, Adrienne Rich, Richard Eberhart, Richard Wilbur, Maxine Kumin, Amy Clampitt, William Stafford, and Galway Kinnell, Visiting Emily offers both a celebration of and an homage to one of the world's great poets.

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Overview

This unique anthology gathers work by eighty poets inspired by Emily Dickinson. Beginning with Hart Crane's 1927 poem "To Emily Dickinson" and moving forward through the century to such luminary figures as Archibald MacLeish, John Berryman, Yvor Winters, Adrienne Rich, Richard Eberhart, Richard Wilbur, Maxine Kumin, Amy Clampitt, William Stafford, and Galway Kinnell, Visiting Emily offers both a celebration of and an homage to one of the world's great poets.

If there was ever any doubt about Dickinson's influence on modern and contemporary poets, this remarkable collection surely puts it to rest. Gathered here are poems reflecting a wide range of voices, styles, and forms—poems written in traditional and experimental forms; poems whose tones are meditative, reflective, reverent and irreverent, satirical, whimsical, improvisational, and serious. Many of the poets draw from Dickinson's biography, while others imagine events from her life. Some poets borrow lines from Dickinson's poems or letters as triggers for their inspiration. Though most of the poems connect directly to Dickinson's life or work, for others the connection is more oblique.

CONTRIBUTORS INCLUDE:
Marvin Bell
Lucy Brock-Broido
Amy Clampitt
Toi Derricotte
Lynn Emanuel
Donald Hall
Edward Hirsch
Galway Kinnell
Maxine Kumin
Archibald MacLeish
Kathleen Norris
Sharon Olds
Alicia Ostriker
Ron Padgett
Linda Pastan
Molly Peacock
Donald Revell
Adrienne Rich
William Stafford
Richard Wilbur
Charles Wright
Ray Young Bear

About the Authors:
Sheila Coghill is currently working on a book-length study of Emily Dickinson and alchemy.

Thom Tammaro is author of two collections of poems, Minnesota Suite and When the Italians Came to My Home Town. He has coedited two award-winning anthologies, most recently Imagining Home: Writing from the Midwest. Both editors teach at Minnesota State University, Moorhead

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
A variety of poets have cast "a certain slant of light" on the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson. From the experimental syntax of John Berryman to the accessible lines of Galway Kinnell, from the humorous tone of Billy Collins to the serious tone of Hart Crane, from the haunting imagery of Sharon Olds to the vivid echoes of Adrienne Rich, this anthology delivers a tribute to one of America's greatest poets. If one estimate of a poet's worth is the reverence a poet receives from other great poets, Visiting Emily clearly demonstrates Dickinson's worth. Dickinson may not have received such acclaim during her lifetime, but the influence her work has had on the poets that followed her is captured in this anthology. Perhaps Emily Dickinson's gift to literature can best be summed up by Dave Etter's final line of his poem, "Vermont Summer," addressed to the poet herself: "Yours was the harvest of small mysteries." Highly recommended.--Tim Gavin, Episcopal Acad., Merion, PA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
For many, to be a poet is to love Emily Dickinson. There is an inevitability to this affair, and her influence on American poetry elicits a form of worship in the poems written to, for, and because of her. This slim, but weighty anthology offers evidence of her influence, bringing together eighty American poets in recognition of her 170th birthday to be celebrated in December 2000. Male poets are particularly fond of Emily, as she is often referenced (for there is no other such Emily in American letters). For them, she is not only muse, but an erotic ideal; a source of inexhaustible desire, and therefore a wellspring for many poems. In "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes," Billy Collins writes: "The complexity of women's undergarments / in nineteenth-century America / is not to be waved off, / and I proceeded like a polar explorer / through clips, clasps, and moorings, / catches, straps, and whalebone stays, / sailing toward the iceberg of her nakedness." At first one hesitates at the presumption of such imaginings, the way her life is revised in favor of the sexual freedom she would have never know when she was alive. Then this is her power over her admirers, and perhaps she would wholly approve--such imaginary leaps having been her own survival and source as a poet. Echoes of Dickinson's style and themes are evident throughout the collection: dashes and spacings like those she employed, and words and images that remember her verses are interwoven and sampled with copious references to black carriages, cupolas, her white dress and "feathered Hope." Her home in Amherst, Massachusetts, is a place of pilgrimage, and references to Death and Darkness bring the reader into herworld, which still persists as a landscape of spiritual and poetic richness. What is sought, it seems, is a dialogue with the woman who is described by Robert Bly in the foreword as a warrior who "goes into battle covered with blood. This is not someone who stands around waiting for reinforcements to arrive. She doesn't wait for a male minister to tell her that it is time to travel toward God." In other words, her fearlessness is worth drawing nearer to, as many have, and others will when they encounter her in this homage.
From the Publisher

“For anyone who loves Emily Dickinson (anyone who would admit to not loving her is, frankly, someone not worth knowing), this is an invaluable collection. Not because it containts the best poems from the poets included— it doesn't—and not because the poems shed more light on Emily, her life, or her work—that's not their purpose—but rather for the joy of joining with these poets in a celebration of words that wildly gyre around and around that immovable, inscrutable, awesome Mystery at the very center of it all: Emily Dickinson.”—David M. Perkins, Bloomsbury Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877457343
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2001
  • Pages: 126
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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