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Poetry Between the Lines

poetry discussionsDelving into Dickinson

In beautiful North Carolina fall weather, Poetry Between the Lines had its inaugural workshop on October 11. This poetry group was started with the goal of reading a few poems from the same poet and doing a close reading of them. Three of us discussed the following selected poems of Emily Dickinson:

“The soul selects her own society, Some things that fly there be, I died for beauty but was scarce, Death is a dialogue between, and To fight aloud is very brave.”

One person was not a fan of Dickinson, claiming she was a one trick poet. She tends to focus on a few themes, death being a major one. Do you feel the same way? My response is, but if you like the trick…

A spirited discussion ignited regarding, “The soul selects her own society.” This poem is an accurate self-description of Dickinson’s self-imposed social seclusion. I felt she showed herself to be a snob, whereas another defended Dickinson’s right to choose her company.

We all felt “Death is a dialogue between” to be confusing; at first Dickinson writes the previous line and then later on in the poem has death become the dust. We also thought her lack of continuity in her rhyme scheme in some of the poems detracted from their effectiveness.

What do you think? Please weigh in with your thoughts and opinions.

William Butler Yeats is the next poet we will discuss on November 15. 10:30 am at Panera Bread at Brier Creek. Check Living Poetry for list of poems and to sign up.






One thought on “Poetry Between the Lines

  1. I’m surprised to find myself quoted here. It was I who called Ol’ Em a “one trick pony.” I said this not exactly because she has only one topic. She actually has a handful. I elect not to love her poems because I prefer poems that when held up to the light, they reveal different perspectives, new prisms. There is only one interpretation of each Dickenson poem, they are straightforward, personal and exclusive.

    So what I believe is that you should read one of Em’s poems on each topic. Yes, death but also, rejection, agoraphobia, botany and then you will have understood her canon. If you actually believe that “if you like the trick” you could read not several of her poems but only one.

    Don Ward


    Posted by adjunctularnoodling | November 2, 2014, 6:21 PM

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