Reviews, talk, and fun

Emily Dickinson is one of my favorite poets, but definitely not for the usual reasons. In many of the poems she penned she bristles and chafes at the societal confines for women and not always so gently!  Between the lines and often brazenly spoken there are many feelings tucked away or hidden and just barely peeking through as a kitten might be in a afghan. But read through a poem more than once  and you can get a sense of the unquiet and almost painful reality pointed out, but ever so carefully hidden.  Other times she’s almost the modern-day feminist who is yelling at the world, too.

She can certainly be painful in her views of life and society around her and though well said, her un-rhyming and often un-rhythmic line and meter bites as much as her simple rather harsh descriptions of death and life can be disconcerting.  Over the years the poems and Emily herself, can be smoothed over and not allowed to shine through as she is.  Even in death her true light has been often softly covered so that the harshness is not easily seen.

One of the poems that has captured my heart and mind from the first time I read it with an elementary school teacher who tried so hard to make it rhyme and “sound good,was I’m Nobody Who Are You. While the words seem inclusive, the idea of a conspiratorial we (the poet and another person, perhaps a friend) who share a sort of togetherness in being that nobody.  I rather think that the painfully feelings shared through the words, her words, are more centered on her aloneness in her time and world because though lightly said, the painful depths are very present, and the feelings expressed seems more the, “me, myself, and I,” rather than a, unknown we than a shared confidence.   I can vouch for the way it grabbed my sixth grade heart, and still does at times even today.

In this day of isolated technologies where face to face can be frightening and kindness shown among teens as well as many adults in our culture is in short supply, this poem can still painfully resonate.  (


Comments on: "I’m Nobody….Who Are You?" (4)

  1. hm, funny you’d consider it arythmic. the musicality is what draws me. her poems have an attention to rhythm and sound that some schools of prose-statement poems of today ignore or buck against.

  2. Pearl,
    I guess that so many of her period and before were rhyming, as well as the fact that so many publishers changed a few words of her poetry early publishings (as well as from her sister her first published her poetry.) to make it not so dissonant. (As a college student in the 90s in my various English classes we looked at the differences in her poetry to the original poems to the ones taken from her actual written poems as opposed to what was first published after her death and how many publishers did not like her lack of rhyming. In some poems there was a marked difference.)

  3. I love her poems as well as her life story. It seem it is such a hard thing to separate the poet from her poems. Life is after all the very thing that shapes people into what they are.This is a well written observation!

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