Haveyou ever smiled after you read a poem? Well, if the answer is yes you shouldknow the poet wanted you to feel like this after reading his creation. It is often said thatpoetry has been defined as “putting the best possible words in the bestpossible order” and I think this is not only available, but also a generaltruth.Firstly,let’s take Emily Dickinson’s poetry.
She was born in 1830, in Amherst,Massachusetts and was a very talented American poet. Her father was a lawyerand she had an elder brother William Austin and an younger sister named LaviniaNorcross. At the early age of eighteen, she started writing and rumours of thattime say that she was influenced by Lydia Maria Child’s Letters from New York , by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre and also by William Shakespeare. Until 1860, her productivitywas immense. After short time, her behavior started to keep changing.
She wasrarely seen in public and her clothing was all composed from white clothes. Herfriends were not visiting her, but they constantly talked by letters. After herdeath, in 1886 her poems were published anonymously, because during herlifetime, Emily Dickinson shared only a few of her creations.Oneof her lyrical and unique poems is called “Come slowly, Eden”. It was writtenin 1864 and it has only two stanzas.
Passing the fact that it is a short poem,in a few words she, the author, managed to take us, the readers, to anotherworld. Focusing on the context, we will discover a real artwork. The first stanzabegins with a call, the same as the title “Come slowly, Eden” and continues toshow different nature images that alternate with human elements and feelingslike “lips”, “Bashful” , as there is : “lips unused to thee,Bashful, sip thyjasmines,As the fainting bee,”.
This special order of words transmits thesensibility of the writer and the way we can understand the message through theelements of the nature. In an uncommon way, Emily Dickinson does not use herusual style in this poem because she changes it a little bit by using betweensix and five syllables.Thecentral word, “Eden” can be understood as a call to a beloved person or maybeshe refers to the paradise that her beloved one represents to her. We are freeto associate different meanings because the ambiguity is a characteristic formof literary texts. The association of a nature element with a person means theabsolute way of defining the author’s feelings.
Because simple words thatdescribe people are not enough and they are not specific to a delighted poet,Emily Dickinson searches deeper, and deeper and she finds the ultimate and thestrongest word to define the magical call for her love: “Eden”. “Comeslowly, Eden” takes part from the first distinct period when Emily Dickinsonwrote poems : the most sentimental and related to nature one. Secondly,the second and the last stanza is: “Reaching late his flower,Round her chamberhums,Counts his nectars –enters,And is lost in balms!”. We can easilyobserve that it is not enough only one reading, this stanza requires two orthree readings to be understood the real meaning of words. An important aspectis that Dickinsons had a herbarium that influenced her writings about natureand the pure condition. It consists of 424 pressed specimens of plants arrangedon 66 pages of a bound album. This delight for plants, for nature can be a signthat the author had a passion for plants.
InThe Emily Dickinson Handbook editedby Gudrun Grabher , Roland Hagenbuchle and Cristianne Miller(University ofMassachusetts Press, p.184) , David Porter says ” What is required of earnestDickinson readers, then, is patience of mind, the ability to live withindefiniteness and indeterminacy, more so than with any other major Americanpoet…”. In other words, what can I develop is that David Porter tries in a fewlines to highlight the fact that Emily Dickinson’s poetry is not as simple aspeople maybe thought. The ” patience of mind” can be defined as the patience ofunderstanding contexts, themes and motifs from her work.
It is crucial to studyenough the meaning of every single part from the poem , in order to acquire thereal feeling that the author sends to us. Nowadays,Dickinson is taught in American literature and poetry classes in the UnitedStates, being one of the most famous poets from the nineteenth century. Evensome schools have taken the author’s name, for instance, Emily Dickinson Elementary Schools exist in Redmond, Washington andNew York City.
Moreover, in honor ofDickinson family, the place where their house has been for all those years hasbeen built by Armherst College and now it is a museum. The availability of thismuseum exits from 2003 and is dedicated to educate the audience about all thespecific aspects of Dickinson family .Poetryhas been a subject even in the years 300 B.
C. Aristotle, in his Poetics considers poetry a mimes formthat has language, rhythm and lyrics. Moreover, in those days, any literarypiece of work could be written in lyrics. The using of delicate forms oftransmitting the message distinguishes poetry from other forms of literarytexts. (Billy Mills,2008)SamuelTaylor Coledrige has a famous quote: “I wish our clever young poets wouldremember my homely definitions of prose and poetry; that is, prose – words intheir best order; poetry – the best words in their best order.” Well, I donot think there could be something more added, as long as we are all aware ofthe fact that poetry is a fine art that requires not only a developedvocabulary, but also a brilliant mind to put all those words in a specificorder. (Billy Mills,2008)ARomanian writer, Tudor Arghezi , wrote in his poem Testament that he had chosen for his poem only “right words” : “Euam ivit cuvinte potrivite”.
That means he did a tough work to find the exactwords, so that the reader could be able to understand the message.MaryLoeffelholz, member of Northeastern’s faculty since 1988, says in her book The Value of Emily Dickinson , that”…perhaps even most readers of Dickinson today, would agree: admittingknowledge of Dickinson biographical identity as a woman writer is important,perhaps even essential, to appreciating her literary value.” (Ch. 3, p.60) Whatcan I summarize is the fact that the author is essential in making theimpossible possible.
In other words, I think that it is necessary more than thetalent for writing in order to convey in just a few words some specificattitudes. Of course, the presence of an experienced reader who is not at thefirst reading of a poem makes the difference between understanding the realmessage or not.Inconclusion, Emily Dickinson has a special sensibility that transfers us throughher creation in another world. It is important to know these details, in orderto understand the fact that poetry actually means “putting the best possiblewords in the best possible order” and the one who said this knew what he wastalking about.