Saturday, April 15, 2006

Susan Howe, My Emily Dickinson (excerpts)

Emily Dickinson once wrote to Thomas Wentworth Higginson; "Candor--my Preceptor--is the only wile." This is the right way to put it.

In his Introduction to In the American Grain [1925], William Carlos Williams said he had tried to rename things seen. I regret the false configuration--under the old misappellation--of Emily Dickinson. But I love his book.

The ambiguous paths of kinship pull me in opposite ways at once.

As a poet I feel closer to Williams' writing about writing, even when he goes haywire in "Jacataqua," than I do to most critical studies of Dickinson's work by professional scholars. When Williams writes: "Never a woman, never a poet.... Never a poet saw sun here," I think that he says one thing and means another. A poet is never just a woman or a man. Every poet is salted with fire. A poet is a mirror, a transcriber. Here "we have salt in ourselves and peace one with the other." more...


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