The "Wild Nights--Wild Nights!" Emily Dickinson Fan Club. discussion

Favorite Dickinson Poems/Lines...

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message 1: by Katie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:39PM) (new)

Katie | 5 comments Well, since no one has started a thread yet...I thought I'd jump in, if you all don't mind.

I studied Dickinson in college during my undergrad work and I wasn't that into her. I guess I bought into alot of the stereotypes about her that are perpetuated by people who don't really know her work that well, or who feel an aversion toward her aesthetic.

Later, I spent more time with Dickinson and the more I read, the more I respected her skill as a poet and her strong mind.

Some of my favorites come from all about the same time period (in terms of the way she herself organized her poems, and as family found them after her death). I really love the following:

"Over the fence--/Strawberries-grow-"
"I've known a Heaven, like a Tent"
"The Drop, that wrestles in the Sea"
"A Mien to move a Queen"

How about you guys? What poems or lines to like/remember from Dickinson's work?

message 2: by Oceana9 (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:45PM) (new)

Oceana9 | 4 comments Yes, yes. I love this thread. Please excuse capitalization errors, and omissions, etc. as I have been drinking.

"Because I would not stop for Death/ He kindly stopped for Me"


"I heard a fly buzz when I died"

and of course,

"I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you--Nobody--too?
Then there's a pair of us
Don't tell! They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary--to be Somebody--
How public--like a Frog--
To tell your name the livelong June
To an admiring bog!"

message 3: by Katie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:45PM) (new)

Katie | 5 comments Hahaha...Oceana...I love that you are apologizing for capitalization and omissions in a thread about Emily Dickinson. You are cute.

message 4: by Paula (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:47PM) (new)

Paula | 1 comments I feel funny bringing up "Some Keep the Sabbath going to Church" and "After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes" because they're probably two of her most commonly studied poems, but they're two of my favorite poems on the planet.

Also, I was just flipping through my copy of Final Harvest to see where I had bookmarked and dog-eared, and I came across this one I hadn't thought about in a long time (though my m dashes aren't showing up right, yikes)

Undue Significance a starving man attaches
To Food --
Far off--He Sighs--and therefore--Hopeless--
And therefore -- Good --

Partaken -- it relieves -- indeed
But proves us
That spices fly
In the Receipt -- It was the distance --
Was Savory --

message 5: by Katie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:49PM) (new)

Katie | 5 comments Oooo...good one Paula!!! I've actually never read that's amazing.

message 6: by Oceana9 (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Oceana9 | 4 comments Oooh. I've never read that one either! Hi Paula, nice to "meet" you. I'm Oceana; was in the M.F.A. program with Kathryn--oops, I mean Katie.

I was doing yoga the other day when these famous lines popped into my mind and started playing over and over. I can't remember which poem they are from, so tell me if you know.

When Freezing Persons recollect the Snow--
First the Chill--then the Stupor--then the Letting Go

Anyway, the part that gets me, and the part that I think speaks to Dickinson's ineffable genius, is the word "recollect." It changes the entire poem, and though I'm not sure I know exactly what it means, in a way it makes the entire poem about every experience possible, not just freezing. Like the way, when one is immersed in a certain state, one can forget the huge, important CONTEXT or CAUSE of their pain, danger etc. Does that make sense?

message 7: by Oceana9 (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Oceana9 | 4 comments Okay, it speaks to how long it's been since I've read any Dickinson--I opened my collected poems and the spine cracked!

Since I have to get used to calling you Katie, and since you have two kids now, I thought I would quote you this one. It strikes me as funny, you know, because you are SO "pious" :-)

When Katie walks, this simple pair accompany her side,
When Katie runs unwearied they follow on the road,
When Katie kneels, their loving hands still clasp her pious knee--
Ah! Katie! Smile at Fortune, with two so knit to thee!

Btw, what is it "really" about? Hands?

message 8: by Katie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:50PM) (new)

Katie | 5 comments Thank you for that little tidbit's wonderful! And your freezing persons quote is from "After great pain a formal feeling comes" and that is one of my all time FAVORITE Dickinson poems ever. Hands down. I do also love "Some Keep the Sabbath" even if it is widely anthologized...I'm not a snob about that. I think the editors of those anthologies do often choose some of her best work.

Yes, I love that Dickinson maximizes the use of parts of speech in unusual you said, it really makes the poem work and it adds meaning, creates a new word in the English language. She does that alot and I think it's one of her greatest skills...and it's not just that she uses a word in an unusual way.

I've always thought (since I started to appreciate her poems) that she was writing riddles. They are little puzzles to be figured out. They are little mind games. She plays with the reader.

Gotta getting into the trash.

message 9: by Oceana9 (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

Oceana9 | 4 comments Yes--and riddles drive me crazy! In the very best way. Of course it can't be hands, since she mentions them. Arms? But that's way too easy.

message 10: by Katie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:55PM) (new)

Katie | 5 comments Yeah, I'm going to guess that it's probably two virtues like Truth and Love, or Piety and Faith or something like that.

I wrote a paper about how Dickinson teases the reader like a burlesque dancer...which I still think is true. I love that she has this very buttoned-up reputation, but when you read her poems she is such a tease! I wrote this paper for the graduate author seminar requirement in the MFA. Actually Hugo was in that class with me...he ought to be in this group too, though I'm sure he doesn't appreciate Dickinson as much as I do. He used to laugh at my enthusiasm in class! :)

I'd love to share my paper with you guys but I think it would exceed the character maximum for posts here. If anyone would like me to email it to them...please send me your email.

message 11: by Val (last edited Dec 07, 2008 03:12PM) (new)

Val (valz) | 1 comments Hi, I think what she is describing are mittens on a string. Knit is the clue.

message 12: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Definitely: "Because I Could Not Stop for Death -"

I studied it intensely in high school, and became a life long fan!

I see this group has not been active for a couple of years, so maybe I am just sending this into cyberworld!

Oh, well.....


message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Morrissey | 1 comments This group seems to have died a death 9 years ago! I have just discovered Emily - she is a poet of our times because she managed y to I live a full life in seclusion- which many people are being asked to do in the time of COVID. Emily entrances. She find magic in the ordinary. She sees through the superficial and gets at the truth and can especially make the abstract concrete. She could improve the mental health of all of us by memorising her lines. I came across her poem ‘I dwell in possibilities a fairer house than prose’ in “Phosphorescence”
I love the last line
My occupation this the spreading wide my narrow hands to I gather paradise
Let’s get Wild nights alive again
Dickinson is in!

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