Emily Dickinson's Weirdest Poems (or Portions Thereof)?
October 8, 2012 6:49 AM   Subscribe

For a project I'm working on, I need to find some of Emily Dickinson's most bizarre, inscrutable, puzzling, borderline-disturbing poems (or just single lines/couplets/stanzas etc.). Rather than go through all her poems trying to find them, I thought I'd ask her to see if anyone knew of any. I'll also accept poems where she talks about writing or language--I have some quotes but not anything full.

I'm already definitely going to use "I felt a Funeral, in my Brain" and number 638, which contains:

"The Zeroes — taught us — Phosphorous —
We learned to like the Fire
By playing Glaciers — when a Boy —
And Tinder — guessed — by power
Of Opposite — to balance Odd —
If White — a Red — must be!
Paralysis — our Primer — dumb —
Unto Vitality!"

But I can use as many as I can get; the weirder, the better. And I'll also be looking for "ars poetica" poems (poems about writing poetry) ad well.

posted by mermaidcafe to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
No specific suggestions, but you might find this online concordance to the works of Emily Dickinson of use.
posted by MonkeyToes at 7:16 AM on October 8, 2012

Check out 1126 and 1700 -- both are in the ars poetica vein.
posted by another zebra at 7:22 AM on October 8, 2012

I'm not sure whether this fits your criteria, but I have always been struck by this line, from a letter to Elizabeth Holland, November 1865:

"November always seemed to me the Norway of the year."
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:44 AM on October 8, 2012

Dickinson's puzzle poems.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:59 AM on October 8, 2012

I just said this on Twitter, but for readers of this thread in THE FUTURE, here is a link to an old professor of mine who has written lots on Dickinson and surely tackles language and/or weird somewhere in there: Tom Gardner.
posted by clavicle at 4:47 PM on October 8, 2012

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