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  #21  
Unread 03-06-2021, 07:07 AM
conny conny is offline
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Yep, everything is subjective. I’ve never thought of JC as self-obsessed tho.
touched, as my gran used to say. Certainly by the end of his life, totally
schizophrenic. hearing voices and seeing visions and all that. Dickinson
became a recluse sadly, agoraphobic, but not as far off the rails as Clare.

What I really mean was... their sense of wonder. Which all major poets
share. The sensibilities of which are usually affected by the times they
live in. Dickinson has it spades, as does Clare. An almost supernatural
desire to pare things down to their essence, as if not to get in the way
of beauty. Brevity as an art form is a wondrous thing. She often does
more in 4 lines than most do in 50.

Last edited by conny; 03-06-2021 at 07:11 AM.
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  #22  
Unread 03-06-2021, 07:50 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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Sarah-Jane, your description of ED as "external" is interesting to me since I always loved her for being precisely the opposite. It seems to me that almost all her poems take place in her mind. She is all about describing what it's like to be inside her own head, and by extension what it's like for anyone to be inside their own head. Her poems (it seems to me) are largely about introspection. She thought about her own thoughts and what it was like to be thinking them, and she tried very hard (and often succeeded) to draw us a little schematic of precisely what the thinking was like. I think she did this to an extent that hadn't previously been seen in poetry. It's why her poems are so hermetic and coded at times, because it's the nature of her subject matter and the challenge she sets herself to reveal what is generally sealed off. You'll notice that she didn't tend to write many poems in which other people appeared. She was her own main character, though without a trace of narcissim, just an earnest sort of exploration of experience. She's sort of the opposite of Whitman in this regard, since Whitman was almost manicly about reaching out to others and didn't tend to delve deep within himself per se.
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  #23  
Unread 03-06-2021, 09:31 AM
John Riley John Riley is offline
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I tend to agree with Roger and think that is--to beat a dead horse--why it is so important to read her poems as she wrote them. What we see when we read her poems is her mind working and she is often thinking in snaps. There has been much speculation about whether ED had a mental illness, which is something I don't think is necessary to pursue, but she was often focused on how her mind worked and her poems serve as a record. There is more there of course, but it is this inwardness turned external that helps to make her a revolutionary poet and why her reputation was dependent on the restoration of her original poems. I think this also may be why she could remind someone of Clare. We know he was mentally ill and some of his poems have that quality of objectifying how his mind is working. One of the other things I like so much in her poems is how ED clung to nature. She doesn't merely describe nature, she wraps herself around flowers and birds and such with an almost desperate need to hold onto them. A sort of Wordsworth 2.0. It is this intensity that her original poems reveal and is why she is not Bronte reborn but the indicator of where so much twentieth-century poetry would go. I certainly see her all through Berryman's Dream Songs, for example, and in a manner that is not merely influence.
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  #24  
Unread 03-06-2021, 09:38 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jane Crowson View Post
how often they used the word 'moth'
Somewhat relevant: I used the word "March" when I searched for this poem in Amherst's online archive, and retrieved several other poems that mention March (which probably inspired Tim's original post).

Here's another March poem (F1320A). It has "purple" in it, too. The slope behind my house is currently carpeted with the American Southwest's ubiquitous invasive purple filaree (a weed that Dickinson probably didn't know).

Just for my own amusement, I'm going to take the liberty of editing it into quatrains, and getting rid of "and" in S4L1. The Amherst archive doesn't have an image of ED's manuscript, just Todd's "fair copy," so I don't know how ED actually wrote it, but I don't see any reason to depart from her usual ballad stanza presentation in this one.


Dear March - Come in - How glad I am -
I hoped for you before -
Put down your Hat - You must have walked -
How out of Breath you are -

Dear March, how are you, and the Rest -
Did you leave Nature well -
Oh March, Come right upstairs with me -
I have so much to tell -

I got your Letter, and the Birds -
The Maples never knew
That you were coming - I declare -
How Red their Faces grew -

But March, forgive me - All those Hills
You left for me to Hue -
There was no Purple suitable -
You took it all with you -

Who knocks? That April - Lock the Door -
I will not be pursued -
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied -

But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come
That blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame -


If people want to see it the way it's usually lineated, here's a link.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 03-06-2021 at 09:40 AM.
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  #25  
Unread 03-06-2021, 04:39 PM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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I'd say that Clare and Dickinson were of nearly equal stature in the Department of Ornithology. Many of their poems about birds are as beautiful as John Audubon's drawings. Going strictly by the numbers, BYU's Emily Dickinson Lexicon, one of my favorite resources, says that ED's poetry has 177 references to "bird" or "birds," not to mention all the references to individual species such as robins, larks, and sparrows. John Clare, not to be outdone, describes about 150 different species in his bird poems, with many species mentioned more than once.
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  #26  
Unread 03-07-2021, 07:20 AM
conny conny is offline
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Thatís cool. I can imagine a giant venn diagram of where poets
word choices overlap. Is there a list anywhere of what words she
used most often, or is it just a case of searching for individual
words?
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  #27  
Unread 03-07-2021, 09:24 AM
Julie Steiner Julie Steiner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by conny View Post
Is there a list anywhere of what words she
used most often, or is it just a case of searching for individual
words?
The word cloud here looks interesting, Dave.

(Although it immediately occurs to me that "like" can have several meanings, as A.E. Stallings' sestina pointed out.)
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  #28  
Unread 03-07-2021, 09:25 AM
Tim McGrath Tim McGrath is offline
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There is at least one study, "Emily Dickinson's Poetic Vocabulary," which discusses her favorite words and the words she used most frequently (not the same thing). Access to the online study requires 25 USD or membership in a group or library associated with Cambridge University Press, which may include you. Here's a link:

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journ...1A7344CF5F6E69

The BYU Lexicon is free, and it has been invaluable to me. Here's a link to a John Clare Concordance, which doesn't answer your immediate question but, like the Lexicon, is fun for browsing.

http://victorian-studies.net/concordance/clare/

Last edited by Tim McGrath; 03-07-2021 at 10:26 AM.
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  #29  
Unread 03-07-2021, 09:48 AM
Sarah-Jane Crowson's Avatar
Sarah-Jane Crowson Sarah-Jane Crowson is offline
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Love this. It makes me read both poets differently, without losing an original sense of them (understanding poets through their biography can sometimes not work for me although it's often interesting).

Audubon is wonderful. For those who aren't aware (I expect most of you will know this), the whole of Birds of America is in the public domain and available as free downloads.

Sarah-Jane
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  #30  
Unread 03-07-2021, 10:03 AM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is offline
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I almost canceled Audubon, however, because he pretty much swindled Keats's brother when he came to the United States. I can't remember the story, but it's recounted in Keats's letters as I recall.
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