In the person of Joyce Carol Oates, the Ecco Press has found the perfect voice to reveal Emily Dickinson's dazzling mind and thin psychic boundaries. When Oates writes in her bird-alert, penetrating introduction that "The writer is forever in motion, calculating and breathless at once, casting out demons, joys, gems, profundity in skeins of language, then moving restlessly on," she could as well be describing herself. Oates discusses the idiosyncratic dashes and capitalizations, charged syntax, elusive slant rhymes, the inimitable voice "discovered in adolescence" that is "at once self-effacing and self-declaring," so instantly recognizable in its obsessions and hungers. "Hunger--literal? Sexual? A hunger for the manly attributes of freedom and power?" Oates has selected masterpieces and lesser known poems to illustrate her many concerns: the poet's bold imagery, energy, wit, mimicry of child's speech, dream babble, quicksilver moments "recorded in the very instant of manifestation." This is Dickinson "at the white heat" of ecstasy and its sister, despair, and she continues to hold us in awe. --Emily FragosCopyright © 1996, Boston Review. All rights reserved.
-- From The Boston Review
About the Author
Known as The Myth of Amherst for her withdrawal from society while still a young women, Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) had an inner life that was deeply emotional and intense. She know rapture and despair, pondered the wonder of God and the meaning of death. She broke tradition and was criticized for her seminal experiments with unorthodox phrasing, rhyme and broken meter, within concise verse forms, thus becoming an innovator and forerunner of modern poets.