“Emily Dickinson’s Defunct”
After studying a bunch of Emily Dickinson’s poems and learning a little bit of background about her, I have discovered that I really appreciate the complexity of her work, and when I first read Marilyn Nelson Waniek’s poem, “Emily Dickinson’s Defunct,” a poem written about Dickinson, I found it to be very interesting. It was fascinating, one, because it valued Dickinson and her work, and two, because it reminded me of another one of my favorite poems, “Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes” by Billy Collins. The reason it reminded me of Collins’ poem was because of Waniek’s allusions to Dickinson’s poetry throughout the poem, which Collins did a lot in his poem. There are many aspects of this poem that interest me but the top three are the speed of the poem, the many allusions to Dickinson’s work, and the bluntness, comicality, and contradiction of how Waniek describes Dickinson. The short lines and the fact that the whole poem is only one stanza allow the reader to read this particular poem very quickly. The speed of this individual poem permits the reader to swiftly read through it without being slowed down by longer lines or any slower punctuation. An example of slower punctuation could be dashes, which were used a lot in Dickinson’s work, but I believe could have been used in this poem to make it more associable to Dickinson’s poetry. A way it is correlated with Dickinson’s work is that it is only one stanza long and a lot of Dickinson’s poems were only one stanza long, granted they were only a few lines long, they were still only one stanza long. This specific poem intertwines facts about Dickinson with words from some of her more well-known poems. Like the fact that she describes Dickinson as having “packed poems/in her hip pocket” allows the reader to visualize how Dickinson was without actually telling the reader if she literally packs poems in her pockets (Meyer 794). One of the allusions that stood out the most to me was in...
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