May 12, 2004
She lived the life of a recluse, considered odd at her best and
insane at her worst. Emily Dickinson was not considered “normal” by most
people’s standards, and neither was her poetry. She used her sheltered life
in Amherst to contrast the expansive universe her poetry encompassed.
As a child, Dickinson appeared like an average schoolgirl. Inside,
she knew she was different, a mourner among the children. She came from a
religious and well-to-do family. She chose to follow her own Sabbath, which
she observed at home. The vivid imagination that produced poems such as
“Because I could not stop for Death” and “I heard a fly buzzed when I died”
also produced an imaginary love for her mentor Charles Wadsworth. While
Wadsworth was not the only man she fell for, he is a template for other
gentlemen that captivated Dickinson’s imagination. Thomas Wentworth
Higginson was another mentor (and unavailable) mentor of Emily’s. It was
through these psuedo-relationships that Dickinson experienced the heartache
and pain she so gracefully penned.
Dickinson was a master observer, be it in the heart, mind, birds,
flowers, or insects, Dickinson sought to breath new air into topics that
have possessed the pens of poets for hundreds of years. She succeeded.
Dickinson’s Style was extremely unique. Since her poems were
untitled, the first
Dickinson techniques included brevity and four-lined stanzas with ABCB
Dickinson found inspiration in style through religious texts. She
often used numerous rhyming styles and patterns. Slant rhyme, like coupling
nerve with love or society with majority, focuses on words that aren’t
perfect rhymes. Another sort of rhyming Dickinson used was eye rhyming, in
which words look like they would rhyme, but are pronounced so that they
don’t, like cough and bough.
The punctuation Emily used is also very characteristic of her
writing. Often she used the dash to separate and emphasize certain ideas
and emotions. It also served to break up sentences. In addition she also
used commas and periods, though not as heavily as the dash. Dickinson also
would capitalize certain words in her poems, perhaps to emphasize those
The mechanics are not the only mark of classic Dickinson. The poet
also relied heavily on metaphysical poetry and unconventional imagery, such
in the poem “Because I could not stop for Death,” Emily uses positive
imagery, such as civility, to put and ironic spins on death. Many of the
poems addressed the familiar topics of death, love, beauty, and heartache.
Her fame could be attributed to the fresh style she approached the topics
With my poem, I’m trying to mirror Dickinson’s style techniques. I’m
also trying to take a fresh and original look at my subject matter, being
the devil/demons. This is extremely difficult, and puts the effort
Dickinson’s must have invested into perspective.
The fervor of the Centipede
The fervor of the Centipede
As he scuttles up the wall –
Enraptured by his Prey
Slowing to a crawl.
Bewitched by his Sinister Ways
Humanity pays the price –
I know not how It started,
Slicing evenly every piece.
The sins fall on everyone’s’ heads
Shell smashed – blind to Virtue and Merit
Failure to kill the Demon
And the Centipede can bear it.
There is no fair or unjust
In the end the insect stands tall
In his race to the finish line
The Centipede’s conquered – the wall