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Category Archives: Review

I’M BACK!!!!!

Hey everyone. I am back with a vengeance and a lot on my mind! I’m here to create and have a controversial time. I love passion and politics, soul mate love and hot sultry desire, Shakespeare on fire and Global warming & Climate Control, women’s rights and sexy attire, debates and civil rights, I intend to use my pain and rise to spectacular heights and make this blog the best site on WordPress.com. and the whole wide world because if you want it dished, then I am your girl. I’ll give you luscious romance and the latest in government scandals, Zeitgeist and the war mongers and drones and Princess Di’s death, Prince Will and the royal throne, World Peace and the Military Money Machine, torture and terrorism, conspiracy theories, poetry, stories, the meaning of dreams, memoirs, reviews, editorials, Jill’s party that’s green, humor and how laughter will cure anything, in-depth religious debates and world news, spirituality, yoga, Pilates, meditation and Sharon Saltzberg, sustainable energy and music for the soul, the healthiest & delicious food and the diet debates, Theater and the Arts, New York City and Greenwich Village, movie reviews, Noam Chomsky, illegal search and seizure, alternative lifestyles and traditional fare of the day, women’s power and men everywhere, Mohammed and Jesus and Jesuit Priests, heaven and hell, Creation versus Evolution, Why we are IN a revolution and don’t know it and it’s all well?, the secret of success and why life is unfair, surviving abuse and unveiling the shame to empower and control it, how to win at the jealousy game, Tuscany villas and starving children in India, Congo & the great USA! Obama’s spying on Fox and the Cat in the Hat, Are we losing our freedom of speech and where is it at? Where is Bin Laden’s body and Kennedy’s brain? Can you not stop the killing & torture of your fellow man, the Patriot Act is in violation of the First Amendment, the right to detain, search & torture without legal counsel or cause, John Lennon imagined a dream and so did King and JFK, can we stand by and do nothing for world peace without going insane? You want it, I got it and til I drop I shall write, I’ll capture your heart, mind and soul if it takes me all night!

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Taming the Beast: Women and Fairy Tales

Taming the Beast: Women and Fairy Tales.


FREEDOM: BOUGHT AND SOLD?

Do you feel like you just do not want to vote in this Presidential election because you aren’t comfortable with either candidate? Or do you feel that you need to vote for one whether or not you really agree with all of his party’s platform? If you do not want to vote for either one of these two corporate-funded Presidential nominees, please don’t just vote for the less of two evils, and don’t sit-out the election in despair and protest, instead I urge you to please go to Presidential third-party nominee Jill Stein’s and her VP running mate Cheri Honkala’s Green New Deal Party website @ http://www.jillstein.org  and and see what they have to offer you. Stein is the only candidate who is for the 99%…the rest of us! If all of us who do not really like or want to continue as we are IN the hands of the corporations and be forever in debt to them….vote for her! We need something really new, we need someone who is really for the people and cares about the people (the poor, the homeless, those who are without healthcare, those who are drowning in debt, the unemployed and the SICK ). She is a doctor, she teaches medicine and she is for green living, not the bankrupting industrial superiority complex that keeps us ignorant of preventative healthcare, destroys our and our children and grandchildren’s health (children have cancer, diabetes, asthma, ADHD and many more preventable diseases) , our planet (look at the climate changes reeking havoc, the ozone, the pollution), our relations with other countries, takes money from the poor and gives it to the rich, bails out the big banks and corporations and keeps students and graduates indentured to the corporate/government/banks/Wall Street machine. She wants to provide Medicare for everyone which would save trillions in private health insurance and illness (by going Green). She wants to provide affordable private and public housing for the millions of homeless because there are literally more empty homes than there are homeless people! Instead of continuing to bail out those corporate bigwigs who lied and got us into this mess, she wants to hold them accountable and stop giving them back trillions of dollars that was promised to those who lost their homes but was never delivered. She wants to instead bail out the students and graduates by providing free upper level education for everyone and loan forgiveness. This would provide countless jobs and boost our economy immensely in the long run. She wants to hire back all the teachers, the health care workers, etc. She wants those who caused the housing market to crash and the wars over oil to be held accountable financially. And instead let’s bring the troops home and cut the military funding 50% because we won’t need to fight for oil if we create our own green sustainable jobs! This is her plan. Our planet, our health, our finances, and any hope of peace depend on a change right now. There is a lot more that she and her running mate KNOW about the other 99% of us than the 1% of wealthy tycoons and corporate controlled candidates of the other two parties. They can relate to us in a way that neither of the others can. There is so much more on their platform than they have-in fact the other two are offering us nothing different. The debt went UP during the last presidency, and employment was higher than it has been in over 30 years…the one very wealthy guy wants to DOUBLE military spending, take away what little healthcare we have now for the poor and middle class (Social Security and Medicaid) and the other wealthy one (yes Obama does have money) is also in the corporation’s pocket and with basically an almost identical agenda, only his campaign is just a little more subtle about it. They are both war mongers, the one more in- your- face about it than the other, but neither working for moving toward true negotiations for peace. They want to keep pouring money into taking more lives in other countries who don’t even want us there than putting money into health insurance and preventative health care for our own country whose people are literally dying from lack of care and resources for their own environment. How many people are currently without health insurance or homes or jobs right now? Think about it. How much do the private insurance companies cost and how much of your taxes go to caring for sick people who are sick because of our polluted and chemically manipulated and compromised environment, water and food supplies?….How much would we save on gas and fuel if we went GREEN? And what could we save on the cost of WAR, be it financially, medically and in lives lost? The military drones, other weapons and occupation are NOT making us safer, they are costing us more money and making us more enemies. We are less safe and more despised and inexcusably drowning in more debt than when we started this war. But the two other mainstream candidates want to keep our troops stationed in other countries and pour even more money into the war(s), cutting back on what we, the people of this country, so desperately need! Does anyone know that President Obama signed a bill last year to detain someone without legal cause? Did he tell us about it? And did Romney mention it in the debates? Did any of the Republican reporters tell us about it…even in one of the trillion dollar election attacks? Hmm, I guess it just wasn’t something that seemed to be important to either of them….or any of their supporters or reporters or even opponents, and certainly not important for US, the ones who are affected by it, to know about!  But,  if this IS something that is important to you, then you should really take the time to  educate yourself about it, and then ask yourself why BOTH parties felt it was not only alright, but obviously best to keep US, the 99%, in the dark about it. And it makes me wonder just how many other important issues we are deliberately kept in the DARK about.  Hmmm, maybe, just maybe, this is why THEY will not ALLOW the other candidates who are on the ballot  to participate in the Presidential debates, at least not theirs. They refuse to even air the debate between Stein and Johnson that is scheduled for Nov. 5 in Washington DC between 8 and 9:30. It is being carried by a Russian channel. What does this tell them about American democracy? Is this democracy?  Being given only two choices that are seen as so close in the view of other countries (and many of us here who are looking closely at the issues) that there is NO difference. This speaks  volumes about our political machine and the fact that we do not have a true choice here, except to vote for the less of  two almost identical evils? Or do we? The third-party candidates have to literally be arrested in front of a University debate between Obama and Romney while trying to get inside in order to get any media attention. And still that is even downplayed and hidden from us, unless we search for it or just possibly stumble across it. They strong-arm any attempts to get media attention by these third parties so that the other voices are unheard and, as one reporter said, Stein could probably not even be picked out of a line-up! If they (the third party Presidential nominees) do  not have the financial means and/or corporate connections to buy the media attention, they just do not get it. They literally have to be arrested. Stein and Honkala did the hard work to get on the ballot and the League of Women’s Voters states that if that is accomplished then they should be allowed to participate in the debate. But, now because of some patriarchal law regarding percentages, they were handcuffed and detained on a bench in a room for eight hours. These two women have lived the life on the street. Cheri, mother of two young boys, was literally homeless and living in abandoned homes, and now is a staunch advocate for the impoverished and goes to legal bat against the large banks and lending institutions to prevent people from being evicted from their homes or to get them back after they are repossessed by high percentage loan banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Stein wants to tear down these big banks and financial institutions who have no one to answer to because they are in the pockets of the political arena and vice verse.  These are two tough women. Jill Stein is the mother of two young men, she is a graduate with honors from Harvard and Harvard Medical School, a medical doctor and teacher of medicine. She’s been in the public political arena for over twenty years, running for mayor of  Massachusetts in 2002 and 2008. She decided to go into politics when she discovered the futility of trying to get the politicians to listen to her medical opinions regarding the environmental and American lifestyle effects on our health. She states that she is now practicing political medicine to try to help people. She pounds the pavement and is NOT a wealthy woman as the other two” main stream” candidates are. She and her running mate, Honkala, are extremely sympathetic, empathetic, understanding and can relate to the poor and middle class and, in my opinion, the two have more moxie than all the other candidates put together. They fight and they do not give up! And they listen. We need a president who will  listen to US, the people, who understands the people’s needs, and who really cares about the people. If the previous Presidents had listened to the people(not just the 1%) and information provided to them, there would have been no 9-11 or economic crash and we wouldn’t be where we are right now! We are not going anywhere with the other two parties, either one, except down a one-way road to even more disaster, disease and, tragically, death. As Stein quotes Alice Walker; ‘The biggest way people give up power is by not knowing they have it to start with.’ Let’s look at this: 99% controlled by 1%? What is wrong with these numbers?  Is money that powerful? It would seem so if we look at our political track record. We need to remember that we have rights and that we are supposedly a “free” people, that we are supposed to be a country of democracy, of people’s choice, not of a money ruled and funded corporate-controlled political machine! We do have another choice besides the two that are being shoved down our throats. Let’s take it! Vote for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala of the Green New Deal Party for President and Vice President for the United States on election day. And if you do not vote for them, please don’t choose the less of two evils, vote for one of the other six candidates in this Presidential race, (and,yes,  there are even more independents). No, the corporate controlled duo-party do not want you to know this, but many third party candidates are on the ballot in most states and as write-ins on others. Your voice really does count, so vote with your heart, your head and your conscience and take back your voice and true freedom of choice!


Emily Dickinson: Rebel Woman Poet

Emily Dickinson: Rebel Woman Poet.


An Annotation of Katherine Hepburn’s

An Annotation of Katherine Hepburn’s Me: My Life in Stories

 

Katherine Hepburn was born on May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut. Her mother was Catherine Martha Houghton and her father was Dr. Thomas Norval Hepburn.  She was the second to the oldest of six children. Her father was very athletic and encouraged Katherine and her siblings to become interested in almost every sport. As a result, Katherine became adept at such sports as gymnastics, swimming, diving, golf and tennis and continued to excel in many of these activities throughout her life.

Her mother and father were active in the women’s movement and her mother became the head of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association. Her parents were well-educated, well-read, and progressive advocates of social, political and economic reform and equal rights for women. They were “dedicated to the bettering of men and women”  and they instilled a fierce independence, determination, enthusiasm, ambition and strength in Hepburn which would prove invaluable to her throughout her life.

Katherine wrote “Me: Stories of My Life”, her memoirs, in a conspiratorially intimate first person voice from an adult perspective. She utilized, at times, a nonchalant matter-of-fact autobiographical tone peppered with the keen sense of humor, style and decorum for which she has become legendary. Although she wrote from her viewpoint at the time the memoirs were written, which was well into her eighties, she aspired to stay true to the timeline of the story which spanned from her childhood in the early 1900’s to the time of the book being written, which was in the 1980’s. Her early life was centered on a comfortable lifestyle provided by her parents in an upper-class social atmosphere. The family employed a nurse, cook and housekeeper. She admits that she is a snob and, most refreshingly, writes like one.

The fact that Hepburn can so candidly laugh at her own snobbery, selfishness and temper is in and of itself a testimony to her honest nature. Her ability to never take herself too seriously and her often brutal exploration of herself and her life grabbed and held my interest, commanded my respect, and tugged at my heartstrings. Her frank narration of her brother’s suicide left me reeling.

She narrated this event from both the innocent voice of a fourteen year old girl’s bewilderment and shock at discovering her sixteen year old brother hanged and the eighty-something year old woman’s wise yet still possibly even more bemused voice attempting to speak for that little girl. Hepburn’s account of this terrible tragedy and she and her family’s apparent inability to come to terms with it, illicit feelings of compassion and helplessness from the reader as we understand that Hepburn has not ever fully come to terms with this tragedy.

How does one ever reconcile one’s self to something like that? On a personal note, I am aware that I have never been capable of properly voicing my own feelings at discovering my late husband’s death engineered in the same manner as Hepburn’s brother’s suicide. Her ruminations reflect the icy cold aftermath in which survivors of suicide are left to dwell; “…I burst into tears. This is what I thought I should do. People die-you cry-but inside I was frozen.” The fact is that seventy something years after this horrific event, Hepburn is still in denial; “Actually Tom’s death remains unexplained” and “Dad made a statement that it was very possible that Tom was practicing hanging himself. Dad had told us of a trick of pretending to hang as a kid”. This seems to in some way corroborate my own feelings of incongruity concerning my late husband’s death.

Although, Hepburn’s close family ties are evident and pronounced throughout “Me”, the majority of her memoirs are centered on her acting career. She focuses on each of her movies and goes into detail about many of them as well as her numerous disastrous attempts at acting in the theatre. However her professional life is so completely entwined around her personal life-friendships and lovers that she manages to efficiently weave everything into a series of memory flashes. These ultimately join together to bring the reader an accurate picture of what was most important to her. Her ties with family and friends were strong. Her ambition and selfishness were possibly even stronger. She was a shrewd businesswoman. She admittedly used people to get ahead, yet she was fiercely loyal to those who were loyal to her. She was many times selfless, although in the long run, the selflessness would ultimately benefit her own goals and desires.

I must admit that one of the reasons which I decided to read Hepburn’s memoir’s, aside from the fact that I have always been impressed with her strong blatant attitudes on feminism, was to uncover the mystery of Katherine Hepburn’s alleged affair with Spencer Tracy. I must also confess that I have seen few, if any, of Tracy’s movies and knew next to nothing about the man prior to reading Me other than that he and Hepburn were reportedly lovers and that he was a married man. Of course, Hepburn is astutely aware of this and saves it until the very end of the book; “Now I’m going to tell you about Spencer. You may think you’ve waited a long time. But let’s face it, so did I” (391).  If this is a tell all book-and it is to a point-Hepburn still manages to do this without doing it, so to speak…

For instance, she tells of her love affairs but never gives the details of whom she was intimate with and who she was not. This voice of decorum is not only founded in the time and era in which Hepburn was born and bred, but also in her character. No matter what anyone comes away with after reading this book, and there are a lot-insights, truths, pain, laughter and a life fully lived-it can never be argued that Hepburn was a anything but a lady.

Her honesty can also never come into question. Hepburn admits that she and Spencer Tracy lived together, that he was married, and that she indeed found him in bed dead. But she is careful to never state openly that she slept with him. In fact, she speaks of lying on the floor beside his bed talking him to sleep because he was an insomniac. She talks of going to see him in the casket prior to the funeral but not attending the actual funeral as it would not have been proper, although they were together for “nearly thirty years”. She does say; “I loved Spencer Tracy”. Her struggle to define this love, just as she defines her life, is simple yet insightful and moving; “LOVE has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get-only with what you are expecting to give-which is everything”.

Sharon Lynn Van Meter

Copyright 2008

Works Cited

Hepburn, Katherine. Me: Stories of My Life. New York: Random House, 1991.


Moonstruck: Perfect Romantic Comedy/Screenplay, Male Lead & Dialouge

Moonstruck: Perfect Romantic Comedy/Screenplay, Male Lead & Dialouge.


Emily Dickinson: Rebel Woman Poet

Emily Dickinson: Rebel Woman Poet.


Entwined

Entwined.


Emily Dickinson: Rebel Woman Poet

Emily Dickinson: Rebel Woman Poet.


Emily Dickinson: Rebel Woman Poet

Emily Dickinson: Rebel Woman Poet

Emily Dickinson fits the archetypal female author of her era in many ways. Like Emily Bronte, she never married. Like Virginia Woolf, she had no children. Along with Woolf, Emily and Charlotte Bronte as well as countless other distinguished women authors of this time, she suffered rejection of her literary achievements from a patriarchal system which attempted to censor not only what a woman could write but attempted to prevent them from writing at all.  Like so many other female authors, she was told that her writing was not ‘good enough.’ Inevitably this meant that her writing did not conform to patriarchal standards; perhaps she did not write like a man or the way a man believed a woman should write.

But, rejection to Emily’s writing went beyond even the customary denunciation of women authors of the era.  Emily’s style of writing was a defiant one. Her prose did not even conform to what was (and predominately still is) considered the appropriate style for poetry. Her gait was called “spasmodic” by the literary mentor whom she chose for herself, Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Final Harvest, vii). And even though Wentworth asked to see more of her work, Emily refused. She knew that her work would not be accepted unless she altered it to fit the mainstream poetic style of that period and she was not about to sacrifice or adjust her passion and her unique style simply for literary recognition or notoriety and fame. This, she clarifies;

We never know how high we are/  Till we are asked to rise/ And then if we are true to plan/ Our statures touch the skies-/The Heroism we recite/ Would be a normal thing/ Did not ourselves the Cubits warp/ For fear to be a King- (Final Harvest, 439. 254).

This aptly demonstrates her aversion to “selling out” or compromising to fit a cookie-cutter mold of what editors, publishers and even other writers adhered to as gospel for poets of her time, especially women. Even though she was fully aware that her work was high enough to touch the sky, “true to plan” and her words were “heroic,” she was content to live a simple life and indeed was afraid to be a “King”, or to pay the price of fame. Perhaps it was her plan all along that her poetry be published after her death whenever she would not have to endure the spotlight, to ensure that her “increasingly reclusive,” self-induced solitude never be disrupted and that she never become someone she was not in order to please others. Or perhaps she was resigned to keeping her poetry, her own private thoughts, her deepest personal feelings, to herself (Woman Poet, 111).

Moreover, Dickinson revolted against the very premise of society’s archetypal woman.  Emily’s ideas on everything from sex to religion shattered illusions during her lifetime and continue to do so even today. Dickinson’s greatest contribution to English prosody was the expansion she gave to metrical and rhyme patterns. She expanded the range and variations of what the English verse allowed by using measures found in her hymn book as well as adopting her own style which laid the foundation for poets and poetry. The rich overtones found in poetry today can be attributed primarily to Emily Dickinson’s defiant attitude and uniqueness (Final Harvest, xi).

Radical and uncensored, she refused to conform to tradition. She chose solitude (indeed she breathed it) as opposed to notoriety. Her acute sensitivity and intensity dictated that she live a secluded existence. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, met her in 1870 and declared; “I never was with anyone who drained my nerve power so much. Without touching her, she drew from me…” (Final Harvest, viii). Her nature thrived on seclusion and was crucial to her creative achievements. Critic David Porter described her as “hyperconscious, […], autogenous, turned inward…” (Emily Dickinson: Woman Poet, 31).  She reveled in her solitude, her words, her thoughts, the modest confinement of her silent little world and she lived vicariously through the uninhibited and infinite expansiveness of her luminous mind. No one but Emily herself can so eloquently explain the artistic temperament and the crucial act of writing without disruption as she does in the following poem: (Final Harvest, 228.388).

The missing All-prevented Me/ From missing minor Things. /

If nothing larger than a World’s/ Departure from a Hinge-/

Or Sun’s extinction, be observed-/ ‘Twas not so large that I/

Could lift my Forehead from my work/ For curiosity.

To further expand on her personal choice to live a secluded lifestyle with a select few friends, family and acquaintances, which also echoes her poetry’s recurring theme of less is more, she says; “The soul selects her own society-/ Then-shuts the Door-/ To her divine majority/ Present no more” and declares that she is “unmoved” by “Chariots” or “Emperors” (Final Harvest, 95. 55.).

She loved words and writing with a passion most would find incomprehensible. Her ideas on life, death, love and religion were so far advanced for her time that her poetry could not even be published until after her death in 1886. She cherished nature and became an existentialist “in a period of transcendentalism” during her era in New England. Dickinson was indeed in awe of nature and through it found her deep spiritualism.

Although raised as a Christian, like many writers of her time (and today), she questioned the existence of a God who was so wrathful that he could impart such intense pain and suffering on humankind. She could “dimly recollect a Grace-/ I think,-they call it “God”- (Harvest, 89. 50, 51).  She questions, challenges and rebels against a God she professes to revere but struggles to understand because of his unjust and harsh judgments. She happily substitutes and reveres the beauty of the environment and all creatures, even the tiniest insect, which she apparently still believes are created by, if not God, then a higher being. Her views on this seem to waver, for she makes mention of God and Jehovah countless times throughout her poetry. She appears to be searching for the truth or a truth of her own, as in excerpts from the two poems quoted below;

I cautious scanned my little life/ […]/ From what would last till Heads like mine/ Should be a-dreaming laid/ […] A cynic I became. / […]   whether deity’s guiltless/ My business is to find-/ (Harvest, 31.18-19).

An Unconcern so sovereign/ To Universe, or me-/ Infects my simple spirit/With Taints of Majesty/ Till I take vaster attitudes-/ And strut upon my stem-/ Disdaining men and Oxygen, for arrogance of them-/My splendors are Menagerie-/ But their Completeless Show/ Will entertain the centuries/ When I, am long ago, / An island in dishonored Grass-/ Whom none but Beetles- know (Harvest, 87. 49-50).

Paula Bennett, Professor of English at Southern Illinois University and author of Emily Dickinson: Woman Poet elaborates on the manner in which Dickinson “takes God to task for the arbitrariness of His ways.” She quotes the poem “It always felt to me-a wrong” in which Dickinson admonishes God for allowing Moses “to see-the Canaan” but not enter. Dickinson continues to vent her rage at this injustice, proclaiming that she herself would have “banned the Tribes-/ And ushered Grand Old Moses/ In Pentateuchal Robes” and criticizes what she passionately deems as the unfairness of such harsh judgment; “My justice bleeds-for Thee!” (Woman Poet, 66, 67).

In addition to Dickinson’s views on God and organized religion, Bennett also ascertains that Dickinson sexual preference, as indicated by her poetry, was that of a homoerotic nature. Bennett bases this analysis on “image patterns whose sexual significance may have been hidden from the poet on a conscious level [therefore] it is bound to seem speculative” (Woman Poet, 154). Bennett refers to Dickinson’s continual use of “small round objects” such as pearls, berries, peas, etc. as well as her mention of “crumbs” to substantiate her claim that Dickinson, likely subconsciously is utilizing these to describe the female genitals. There appear to be no poems of a homoerotic nature in Final Harvest nor could Bennett seem to substantiate this claim with poems or letters Dickinson sent to relatives and friends quoted in Woman Poet p.150-180.

Dickinson’s reference to objects found in the environment is consistent with her strong devotion to nature found throughout her poetry. Her allusion to flowers and what Bennett refers to as feminine objects is not only a testimony of her love for nature but also signifies her preference for female company over males which can either be construed as a sexual interest or strong platonic relationships or both.

“Wild Nights” is probably the most ardent poem of a romantic nature which Dickinson wrote. Clearly she is speaking to a lover although it is uncertain whether the lover be male or female, when she pronounces; “Wild Nights-Wild Nights! /Were I with thee/ […] Rowing in Eden-/Ah, the Sea! / Might I but moor-Tonight-/In Thee!” (Final Harvest, 58.32.) Regardless of her sexual preference, Dickinson evidently found men to be, if not somewhat threatening, unnecessary, at least in the traditional sense, and an enigma of sorts. She says;

I’m wife-I’ve finished that-/ That other state/ I’m czar-I’m “woman” now-It’s safer so-” (Harvest, 39. 22) and on marriage and the archetypical woman; “An infinite Tradition/ As Cinderella Bays/ […]/ Of Blue Beard’s Galleries/ Elate us- till we almost weep-/ So plausible they seem” (Harvest, 94. 54).

Dickinson’s emotions were of such an intense nature that many would find them incomprehensible. She says;

“The soul has bandaged moments-/ When to appalled to stir/ [ …] /The soul has moments of escape-/ When bursting all the doors-/ She dances like a Bomb, abroad, / And swings upon the Hours […] When shackles on the plumed feet, / And staples, in the Song, / The Horror welcomes her, again” (Harvest, 206. 126-127).

Dickinson not only appears to take exception to God and the patriarchal system, both of which mutually humbled and empowered her writing, but also to men and women in general, of whom she quipped; “talk of hallowed things, aloud-and embarrass my dog. He and I don’t object to them, if they’ll exist their side”(Woman Poet, 122) Her distaste for loud, narrow-minded, arrogant people as opposed to quiet, humble, philosophical beings is also apparent in her poem, thick with bristly sarcasm;

I fear a Man of frugal speech-/I fear a silent Man-/ Haranguer I can overtake-/ Or Babbler-entertain-/ But he who weigheth-While the Rest-/ Expend their further pound-/ Of this Man-I am wary-/ I fear that He is Grand” (Final Harvest, 221. 136).

Her preference for solitude, Bennett expands, was indicative that Dickinson, “like Milton, […] seem[ed] to be moving to a religion of one” (Woman Poet, 122). Her love of nature was her saving grace, so to speak. Her poetry is filled with a passion for her environment and no animal or insect, including bats or rats, was too small or repulsive to be admired.

The manner in which she described a rainstorm in “It sounded as if the Streets were running” was not short of astonishing. As she articulates “And then- the Streets stood still-/ Eclipse was all we could see at the window/ And Awe-was all we could feel” (Final Harvest, 496. 283). The preoccupation with death found in many of her poems fuses with her fondness for animals and insects in “I heard a fly buzz-when I died-/” as is particularly telling in the descriptively chilling last verse:

With Blue-uncertain stumbling Buzz-/ Between the light-and me- /And then the Windows failed-and then/ I could not see to see-” (Harvest, 184. 111-112).

As an existentialist, she turned her spirituality to nature, which was the focus of the majority of her poems. Dickinson took great delight and comfort in the beauty of the environment as well as all animals, none being too miniscule or repulsive. She wrote up to “six poems apiece on fourteen species of flowers…two dozens poems on assorted other creatures as well: cats, caterpillars, spiders, worms, snakes, crickets, butterflies and fireflies (Woman Poet, 103)”. She even wrote about the lowly rat. She indeed loved all creatures.

Her love of nature can be experienced throughout her poetry and she seems to have particularly loved the beauty of spring. In her poems she repeatedly mentions the month of March, as in; “A light exists in Spring / […] When March is scarcely here/ […] That Science cannot overtake/ But Human Nature feels.” She grieves over the enormity of the loss of this short-lived beauty “It passes and we stay” and “A quality of loss/ Affecting our Content/ As trade had suddenly encroached/ Upon a Sacrament ” (Harvest, 331. 201).

Dickinson’s preoccupation with death, her love of nature, her issues with religion and God as well as men are all foreshadowed by the intensity of her personality which shines through in all of her poetry. Her most endearing quality appears to have been her ability to play. Her acutely sensitive and rebellious, intuitive nature are her strong character traits. Her extraordinary talent for writing and her dedication to her craft as well as her refusal to relinquish her individuality and style are all precious gifts she bestowed upon humanity through her ground-breaking poetry.

I quote the first two verses of “We dream-” (Harvest, 15. 132-133), which is a brief culmination of who Emily Dickinson was and why she shall continue to live on in our hearts and souls forever;

We dream-it is good we are dreaming-/ It would hurt us-were we awake-/

But since it is playing-kill us, / And we are playing-shriek-/

What harm? Men die-externally-/ It is truth-of Blood-/

But we-are dying in a Drama-/ And Drama-is never dead.

Works Cited

Bennett, Paula. Emily Dickinson: Woman Poet. Iowa: University of Iowa Press, 1990.

Dickinson, Emily. Final Harvest: Emily Dickinson. Ed. Thomas H. Johnson. New York:

Little, Brown and Company, 1962

Sharon Lynn Van Meter

Copyright 2007