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Julian Meynell's Books

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Emily Dickinson's Selcted Poems

Selected Poems - Emily Dickinson

Every now and again I read something that is critically acclaimed and I am left absolutely cold by it.  I know a lot of people love Dickinson and I know that she was a large influence on Plath who's poetry I really enjoy, but this did nothing for me.  Dickinson was a hermit, but why she was so reluctant to leave her home there is nary a word of in the whole collection, so the poetry cannot be described as confessional or really self-exploring.  For the most part, I didn't feel particularly that she had a lot of insight into things really.  The last section of this collection is optimistically called "Time and Eternity", but it would be more accurate to call it "the maudlin fear of death".

 

She does make startling word choices and metaphors, and that's OK.  And there are certainly some good lines, but she uses virtually the same metrical form for all her poems and has what became an irritating habit of concluding with an exclamation mark!

 

Emily Dickinson was only really discovered after her death and only became popular in the 20th Century.  Why this should have happened is mystifying to me.  A big disappointment.