Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries - Helen Vendler

During her life, Emily Dickinson rightly suspected that her unconventional poems would baffle—even shock—her contemporaries. Later readers have gotten used to her dashes, hymn meters, and slant rhymes, but her tight, riddling lyrics are still a challenge. However, the rewards of reading DICKINSON (Harvard Univ., $35) are many, and there’s no better companion in this endeavor than Helen Vendler, author of studies on Yeats, Stevens, Herbert, and many modern poets. She brings to this selection of 150 Dickinson poems a lifetime of close reading and an amazing ability to empathize with the poet’s position, articulating what Dickinson tried to do, the problems she faced, and how she resolved them. Each commentary addresses formal and thematic elements of a given poem and draws on the poet’s biography and reading, including citations from the 1844 Webster’s Dickinson consulted. Vendler offers a wealth of insight and information, suggesting readings but never closing off options. In each two-to-five-page essay she says more, and says it more clearly, than many critics do in entire books.

Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries By Helen Vendler Cover Image
ISBN: 9780674066380
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Belknap Press - October 29th, 2012