Final Harvest: Emily Dickinson's Poems

by Emily Dickinson

Other authorsThomas Herbert Johnson (Editor)
Paper Book, 1970

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Available

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Boston : Little Brown, [1970]

Description

A Complete cross-section of her work is reflected in this selection from emily Dickinson's poetry.

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LibraryThing member ctpress
It has taken me a long time (years…) to finish these poems. Generally not reading more than a handful of poems at a time. They deserve to be pondered upon.

This selection by Dickinson scholar, Thomas H. Johnson, has 576 of the 1.775 poems she wrote. While reading this volume I also read Roger Lundin's fine scholarly biography [Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief] - it made me more aware of her silent secluded world and her many sorrows and struggles.

What I like about Dickinson is her naked honesty - the way she searches her own heart and soul - struggling with doubt, faith, death, immortality and the nature of God. As Roger Lundin writes: She took the full measure of the loss of God and bravely tried to calculate the cost. In the end, as one who both doubted and believed, she resembled Dostoevsky more than Nietzsche. Like the russian novelist, she won her way through doubt to a tenuous but genuine faith.

I know that He exists.
Somewhere - in Silence -
He has hid his rare life
From our gross eyes


Even when she tries to illuminate nature it is an enchanted world - it often points to another reality - a transcendent one.

She can be very difficult to understand - what exactly does she see now or try to convey with those brief sentences? Often I had to give up. But then suddenly there's a genius play on words or an insightful observation that blows you away. And while she's preoccupied with death and pain she can also be funny - so let me end with that:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you Nobody - too?
Then there's a pair of us?
Don't tell! they'd advertise - you know.

How dreary - to be - Somebody!
How public - like a Frog -
To tell one's name - the livelong June -
To an admiring Bog!


How apt in our reality-tv days :)
… (more)
LibraryThing member JVioland
I suppose it was ahead of its time, but now it's dated.
LibraryThing member IICANA
Selection and Introduction by Thomas H. Johnson.

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