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Final Harvest: Poems by Emily Dickinson

Final Harvest: Poems

by Emily Dickinson

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Selection and Introduction by Thomas H. Johnson.
  IICANA | Jun 21, 2016 |
I suppose it was ahead of its time, but now it's dated. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
It has taken me a long time (years…) to finish these poems. Generally not reading more than a handful of poems at a time. They deserve to be pondered upon.

This selection by Dickinson scholar, Thomas H. Johnson, has 576 of the 1.775 poems she wrote. While reading this volume I also read Roger Lundin's fine scholarly biography [Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief] - it made me more aware of her silent secluded world and her many sorrows and struggles.

What I like about Dickinson is her naked honesty - the way she searches her own heart and soul - struggling with doubt, faith, death, immortality and the nature of God. As Roger Lundin writes: She took the full measure of the loss of God and bravely tried to calculate the cost. In the end, as one who both doubted and believed, she resembled Dostoevsky more than Nietzsche. Like the russian novelist, she won her way through doubt to a tenuous but genuine faith.

I know that He exists.
Somewhere - in Silence -
He has hid his rare life
From our gross eyes

Even when she tries to illuminate nature it is an enchanted world - it often points to another reality - a transcendent one.

She can be very difficult to understand - what exactly does she see now or try to convey with those brief sentences? Often I had to give up. But then suddenly there's a genius play on words or an insightful observation that blows you away. And while she's preoccupied with death and pain she can also be funny - so let me end with that:

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you Nobody - too?
Then there's a pair of us?
Don't tell! they'd advertise - you know.

How dreary - to be - Somebody!
How public - like a Frog -
To tell one's name - the livelong June -
To an admiring Bog!

How apt in our reality-tv days :) ( )
3 vote ctpress | Mar 5, 2013 |
This selection contains 576 poems (approximately 1/3 of the total) Emily Dickinson wrote between 1858 and 1884. Each poem is numbered consecutively and given the number in the complete collection, with an approximate date of composition and the date of first publication. Though short, each poem captures a moment precisely, and her contemplations range in theme from death to joy to nature to God. Thomas H. Johnson, the editor of this and a 1955 edition of Dickinson's complete poems, wrote the introduction. An index at the back lists alphabetically the first line of every poem included for easy reference.

Having not read any poetry since college, I was a little wary of reading a poetry collection for pleasure. I seem to have the same reaction to poetry that many have to reading: it's school-related, it's hard, and it's boring. My reading experience was pleasantly different from what I was expecting. I often understood the main point of the poem, and even when I wasn't quite sure I understood, I had the freedom to move on without worrying about it. I found the introduction helpful, as a nonspecialist, in introducing me to Dickinson's approach to poetry, her contribution to rhyme schemes, and the range of subjects about which she wrote. I often referred back to it as I came to poems that were mentioned specifically, which aided in my understanding. I recognized poems that I had read in the past, such as "He ate and drank the precious Words" and "I'm Nobody, who are you." I expect I will revisit this selection in the future. ( )
3 vote bell7 | Dec 31, 2008 |
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A Complete cross-section of her work is reflected in this selection from emily Dickinson's poetry.

Legacy Library: Emily Dickinson

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