Thursday, October 22, 2009

emily dickinson + anne carson

It only makes sense, while I immerse myself in Emily Dickinson, that so much of my other reading is influenced by that dashing writer. In fact, linking Anne Carson, a figure who seems to prefer a poetic life outside of the direct gaze, one a bit shy during Q&A, is not so difficult a task--on the surface, there are the functions of punctuation (bracket, dash), the notion of breath, the intense scrutiny and diversion of form. There are differences too: Emily Dickinson seemed to work in seclusion, save reading and letters, whereas Carson's work, especially most recently, really emphasizes the collaborative experience.

When asked about her Sappho fragments, Anne Carson quoted the last stanza of Emily Dickinson's 1209th poem:

The Fruit perverse to plucking,
But leaning to the Sight
With the ecstatic limit
Of unobtained Delight --

Carson said this speaks to what she was doing with the Sappho fragments.

A bit earlier, in discussing the fifteen pronoun sonnets, she spoke of influences: Gertrude Stein and "On Poetry and Grammar" as well as Keats letter "On Shakespeare." Additionally, she referenced Dickinson's 1696:

These are the days that Reindeer love
And pranks the Northern star --
This is the Sun's objective,
And Finland of the Year.

I'm still lingering in a biographical study of Emily Dickinson, but I plan to move out of that and into the exploration of poets and work Dickinson influenced--looking at Susan Howe's My Emily Dickinson, the Adrienne Rich essay "Vesuvius at Home" and Lucie Brock-Broido's collection of poems called The Master Letters, among others.

3 comments:

Meryl said...

Tee hee: "dashing writer." She is a cutie... those intense brown eyes.

amanda said...

May I read The Master Letters with you? Been sitting on my shelf for awhile.

Molly said...

Oh, Amanda! I would lovelovelove to have company reading The Master Letters! Especially with your crazy-lovely brain! :)