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« An Interview with Elaine Equi [by Aspen Matis] | Main | My Body, Take and Eat. Or: Sermon on Her Mound [by Jill Alexander Essbaum] »

February 26, 2021


This blog entry omits an internationally recognized authority on Dickinson's work. Paula Bennett, Professor Emerita of English literature (Southern Illinois University-Carbondale), is a specialist in nineteenth-century American women's poetry and the author of numerous books, including My Life a Loaded Gun: Female Creativity and Feminist Poetics and Poets in the Public Sphere: the Emancipatory Project of American Women's Poetry, 1800-1900 (Beacon Press 1986, new ed. 2018) and Emily Dickinson, Woman Poet (E.E.Root 2018). Her essays have appeared widely in journals and collections.

Truly enjoying this series on Emily Dickinson!
Please continue with these commentaries!
also: Helen Vendler has published a great book of her commentaries on selected Dickinson poems

Dear Slow Reader: I expect to put up more appreciative essays on great poems. This opne appeared recently:
It's about Shelley's "Ozymandias" and, by way of contrast, Emma Lazarus's "The New Colossus," her Statue of Liberty poem. It ran under the headliner "What Trumps Vain Boasts" back in June 2017, which sort of lost me a gig.

Dear Jacqueline Lapidus: Thank you for the recommendation. I'm sure I overlooked many other books and essayists. So many have written on ED and on that poem in particular. I wasn't trying to be comprehensive, but please feel free to add more about Professor Bennett's reading of the gun poem.

I read it as a passionate love poem. It's there in the language, in the pent-up speaker's sudden burst of feeling: "and carried Me away," the happy roaming, the hunting, and those beautiful erotic lines following "I guard My Master's Head," the desperate wish that "he longer must" live than I. How could this not be entertained?

Thank you for the insightful comment, Grace.

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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