Emily Dickinson from Inside and Out   Leave a comment

This Thursday, February 26th, at 5:00 (EST), Elizabeth Oakes visits Merry Gangemi on Woman-Stirred Radio.

In the foreword of Elizabeth Oakes‘s exquisite volume of poems, The Luminescence of all Things Emily, Oakes tells us that her book “sets Dickinson in the context of her life” (1), a simple statement that belies the astute compassionate insights Oakes achieves in this engrossing collection.

The poems are fun and light, dark and brooding, sorrowful, quirky, passionate, sexy, and emotionally intelligent: “It’s the smallest things/ that linger about my sister” Oakes confides through the voice of Vinnie, Emily’s younger sister, “the quiet stirring of her spoon/ and the click it made as she/ lay it carefully on the saucer,…” (42).

Poems engaging the long-standing love affair between Austin Dickinson and Mable Todd Loomis are powerful and erotic, fully embracing the credibility of this adulterous affair: ‘Even when they were halfway around the world/ from each other, he could feel her in the dusk/ of evening, she him in the wind that blew her skirt” (20).

All of the poems that re-imagine Susan Huntington Dickinson seem to shimmer with love and desire; the kind of desire that fires up the mind: “When my strange sister-in-law/ wrote that she split the dew, I knew/ what she meant./ Unlike truth and beauty, we lay/ on the same pillow./ Like ice turning to water/ and then water to mist/ we were” (30). They honor the friendship between Emily and Sue by virtue of their openness and the obvious affection for these two friends: “I have learned more/ from her, Emily wrote/ about Sue, than from/ anyone except Shakespeare” (31).

So please tune in for this special interview beginning at 5:00 (est). Elizabeth Oakes won the 2004 Pearl Poetry Prize for her first book, The Farmgirl Poems. She holds a PhD from Vanderbuilt University and is the co-founder and co-editor, with Jane Olmstead, of the Kentucky Feminist Writer Series. Oakes’s poems and her published scholarship can be found in, among others, Louisville Review, Women’s Studies: an Interdiciplinary Journal, Room of One’s Own, 24 Hours, and the Harvard Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.

This Thursday also features Jerome Charyn, author of The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, a decidedly daring book that examines Emily as a gun fully-loaded and ready to roll. If you ever wondered what ED would be like as a hot number about town, this is the book you’ll want to read. Charyn is on at 4:15.

Jerome Charyn has been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and has received the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His other novel is Johnny One-Eye.He lives in Paris and New York.

Posted 24/02/2010 by Merry Gangemi in Uncategorized

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