A Fascinating Look at One Poet Reading Another

My Emily DickinsonMy Emily Dickinson by Susan Howe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Howe’s short book is an illuminating take on one of my favorite poets, focusing in particular on a careful reading of “My Life Stood—a Loaded Gun.” Howe does an excellent job of showing the poetic and other influences on Dickinson, especially the Brownings, Shakespeare (King Lear in particular), Fenimore Cooper, and Jonathan Edwards. Sometimes, Howe lets her own poetic rhetoric carry her away into near intelligibility, but I simply take that as her excitement and appreciation for what Dickinson was able to do. If you appreciate Dickinson, give this a read. If you are not sure, definitely read this work of one poet reading another.

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