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
From the Back Cover
Emily Dickinson saw fewer than twenty of her 1,775 poems published during her lifetime: when she died in 1886, her obscurity as a poet was nearly total. Now widely recognized as one of the great American poets of the nineteenth century, she is one of a handful from any period whose enduring stature in the world of letters is matched by the loyal affection of generation after generation of readers. In this distinguished addition to The Essential Poets series, Joyce Carol Oates presents a "personal - yet not private" collection of Dickinson favorites, selecting from relatively obscure works as well as better-known poems to illuminate Dickinson's often unacknowledged range. Oates takes care to introduce us to the poet's subversive playfulness; to her rebellious nature and radical aesthetic; to her gender-bending personae and surprisingly wicked humor. At the heart of this collection, of course, stands the work that made Dickinson's reputation as one of America's great visionary poets: an artist who has written with stoic control and astonishing lucidity about the soul's darkest, most terrifying hours.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.