Emily Dickinson (poem)
Emily Dickinson (1830 – 1886) was born in Amherst, a small town in Massachusetts, into an old family of New England Puritans. She did not become a professing Christian, as would have been expected of her by her teachers and her Calvinist family, and this was the beginning of her sceptical turn of mind. When Emily Dickinson returned to Amherst after her studies, she lived more and more as a recluse: she lived in her home and garden, refused to have any contacts with visitors, dressed entirely in white, and started writing, trying to express some of her passionate feelings through letters and poetry.
Of her more than 1,700 poems only seven are known to have been published during her lifetime. After her death appeared Poems by Emily Dickinson – First Series (1890), and further volumes were brought to light during the years until the Complete Edition of the Poems (1955) which marked her worldwide fame and reputation.
Emily Dickinson was concerned with universals, thus the two great sources of her inspiration were the Bible and the phenomena of nature. Some of her poems start from minute observations of animals, plants, light, to move on to deeper subjects, to the eternal and the divine. Others are about love, pain, God, and they reflect both a rebellion against conventional religion, morality and prudery, and the influence of her Puritan heritage (eredità), which can be felt when she turns to metaphysical questions such as renunciation, guilt (colpa) and death. Her outlook (vision) remains dualistic in the sense that it juxtaposes the abstract with the concrete, the trivial with the sublime, reverence with satire.
In her poems Dickinson employed a complex and unusual syntax, sharp images, paradoxes a different rhyming schemes which helped to create a new sense of the richness with which the language can be used.
Emily Dickinson (1830–86) wrote in the same period of Walt Whitman, but her poems were totally different . She lived all her whole life in Amherst, Massachusetts, and composed nearly 2,000 short, untitled poems. Despite her productivity, only few of Dickinson’s poems were published before her death in 1886.
Dickinson used images and experienced different variations within (all’interno) her simple form. She used imperfect rhymes, subtle breaks (interruzioni) of rhythm (ritmo), and personal syntax and punctuation to create fascinating word puzzles, which are still producing contradictory interpretations.
She was fascinated by a variety of subjects and emotions: death, and afterlife (vita dopo la morte) , faith (fede) in God and disillusionment (delusione). Many of her poems record moments of bitter (amara) paralysis that could be death, pain (dolore), doubt, fear, or love. She remains one of the most private and cryptic voices in American literature.
Here is an example of her way of writing. Her poems have usually no titles, but are numbered. This is about life and is number XXVII
I ’M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair (siamo in due) of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us (allontanerebbe), you know.
How dreary (noioso) to be somebody!
How public, like a frog (rana )
To tell your name the livelong day (tutto il giorno)
To an admiring bog! (palude)