Emily Dickinson (Forerunners)

Underfoot Poetry

While some of Emily Dickinson’s more well-known lines had been in my head for years, I didn’t sit down with all of her poems until a flight from Atlanta ages ago, to attend my grandmother’s funeral back home. As Dickinson says, time does not assuage; but her strange words and stranger company of her presence certainly helped at that time, and has ever since. It’s always amused me that Thomas Wentworth Higginson, an editor of the Atlantic Monthly who corresponded with Dickinson, was deeply unnerved when he met her in person. To someone who had fought in the Civil War and seen his share of terror, he confessed that never had he spent time “with any one who drained my nerve power so much. Without touching her, she drew from me. I am glad not to live near her.” 

There’s a sense I get from her poems that none of…

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