Sunday, September 18, 2011

Emily Dickinson and Tucson's Big Read

Many of my classes will be participating in one form or another in The Big Read, sponsored by Kore Press and NEA.
The Big Read is a program through National Endowment for the Arts, and this year the featured poet is Emily Dickinson.  Many other organizations are partnering up throughout the fall, including the University of Arizona Poetry Center, to put together an incredible run of events.  Teens may be especially interested in Logan Phillips' Slamming Emily writing and poetry slam workshops.  Logan visited my classroom last year, and really connected with my students and inspired them to write some great poetry.

Emily Dickinson at age 16
Emily Dickinson at age 16
Many students are totally unfamiliar with Dickinson's work, and others may stereotype her as an old maid and a hermit writing old-fashioned poetry, but Emily Dickinson was a pre-modern poet, bending and breaking the rules of the poetry of her time. Though she lived in 19th Century Massachusetts, her voice is modern and always surprising. Together with Walt Whitman, she is credited with helping develop a truly American poetic voice. However, I see her as having a more individual voice, especially seeing that her poetry was not widely recognized until the middle of the 20th century.

Below, find a list of some poems which may help engage you with her work. Her poems are categorized by number and title.  The poems were not originally titled, but are conventionally given a title using the first line. The capitalization and punctuation of the titles is true to the original-- Dickinson was known for her unconventional use of punctuation and capitalization. In early volumes of her work, editors changed the capitalization and punctuation to their tastes, but the poems are now treasured for these idiosyncratic details.  Below the poems is a list of Emily Dickinson resources I've collected.

I will continue to revise this page as I find new resources.


Selected Poems:

I measure every Grief I meet
Because I could not stop for Death
I heard a Fly buzz
I'm Nobody! Who are you?
There's a certain Slant of Light
The Soul unto itself
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant--

Fantastic Video:
Emily Dickinson – Her True Self from Flash Rosenberg on Vimeo.


Emily Dickinson Links

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