From the introduction by Joyce Carol Oates:
Between them, our great visionary poets of the American nineteenth century, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, have come to represent the extreme, idiosyncratic poles of the American psyche....
Dickinson never shied away from the great subjects of human suffering, loss, death, even madness, but her perspective was intensely private; like Rainer Maria Rilke and Gerard Manley Hopkins, she is the great poet of inwardness, of the indefinable region of the soul in which we are, in a sense, all alone.
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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.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.
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