The Modern Poetry site is overwhelming – trying to navigate all the boards is just not possible. You must pick your thread of interest. Al Filreis has offered some suggestions of how to navigate, highlighting certain forums, but even then it is crazy, in a good way.

I’ve been at work until late tonight, ergo, this highlights a bit of thought regarding Emily Dickinson poem, “I dwell in Possibility”.  (I’d love to link to the very interesting Penn video that breaks this poem down, but I think you cannot link unless in Coursera. What I WILL do is link a question I found interesting that was posted by Filreis:

One of the things we’ll discuss when we close-read this poem is the extent to which it’s a poem about poetry. We’ll look for evidence in the poem itself. Where is that evidence? Look hard at the poem!

Of course to some extent all modern poems are meta-poetic, because a hallmark trait of modernism is writerly self-consciousness about the activity happening at the moment of the writing. Poems don’t do; they are (they are always being written).

Here was my reply:

I believe this may have been a declaration for Dickinson. This was written in 1862, one of her most prolific years of writing poems, over 200. Dickinson, despite being a recluse, did have a social circle whom she oft was concerned about regarding judgement.

The poem, to me, is very much taking the stance that her occupation is THIS, she as poet. Her words, her THIS, shall not only offer possibility for her to transcend reality, but, if her circle (visitors) accepts her occupation, they too can experience a paradise via her poetry, her life in which she dwells.

(very meta-poetic, thou I knew not what this meant until today)

I thought this was a very apt question that received many phenomenal answers. If you’ve a thought, please, do chime in via the comments. I’d welcome this to be a discussion forum for any WP bloggers who are a part of the class.

(I apologize for the disjointedness of this post, I Shall do better in the future, but it is after midnight and 6AM does roll around quickly.)

Another very curious post was in the thread regarding the  psychology behind the poem. One of the posters posted poem 445, “They shut me up in Prose”. I wasn’t familiar with this poem, but I immediately loved it for what I “know” of Dickinson’s life after reading White Heat. This was my rather long-winded, off the cuff response after reading 445 with much excitement and little contemplation!

Interesting poem(445) that I feel I can navigate a bit better than “I dwell in Possibility”. Most interesting that I would interpret prose in 445 different from 466, yet as I write this, I realize that they can be universally drawn if I follow my original thought process while reading 445.

In the above, my initial reaction is that Dickinson is addressing the prose of the bible. Dickinson was just a girl when she declared her ‘independence’ from the church. Her family was quite adamant about their faith and Dickinson was not quiet about her objection. I mean no blasphemy, but I oft felt that Dickinson felt herself as God or at least on the same level. That last stanza has me champing to say that she is again drawing a line, stating that she shall not be part of God’s game, i.e “No more have I”.

One could suggest that prose is not just ordinary prose, but prose of the biblical sense. In “I dwell..” there seems to be the question of the house, or is it the heavens, that she is to transcend. Again, the last stanza of 466 seems to help to clarify, or at least suggest, that she shall not only transcend via art of her word, but she is declaring that those who shall not mock her/ her visitors of her social circle, shall experience the possible as well as experience paradise if they welcome her occupation as a poet, this life in which she dwells. ~ 

Please note, dear reader, I’m not a poet, nor an academic (obviously), so you must take these posts with a grain. After all, as the title states, I’m a poet under construction…and I use ‘poet’ very loosely. I am not Emily, ready to declare the “I”, nor do I dwell in the possibility; not at this time at least. ~ a

(PS…many thanks to those who have subscribed, visited, liked, etc.. I shall try my best to catch up tomorrow night after work & class!)


2 thoughts on “We dwell in her possibility –

  1. i think i should start with a thank you… when i first started reading y.h.c. a month or two ago i had no idea it would lead to where i am now… i feel like i’m on a road of discovery… i read every link , poem and reference you include in both of your blogs and now i’m looking at modern poetry online, reading emily dickinson poems, checking out carmac mccarthy, and finding very interesting things about oppen’s life story…soooo i’ll simply say thank you… you may not believe believe it but i’ve got about two dozen pages of notes and i’ve learned a lot…i’ve got lots of questions and i’ve thought of leaving more comments… but for now…thanks, bob

    • Thank you. It is a great compliment that you’ve taken such time to explore different areas touched upon via these blogs. I’m not sure how you stumbled upon these, but I do hope if you find you enjoy your study, you will visit the true scholars blogs and journals.

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