Sunday, October 12, 2008

Emily Dickinson Gone Wild

New details have emerged about Emily Dickinson that suggest she might have led a much less tame -- though perhaps no less sad -- life than believed.

"Dickinson did not have to wait until her dotage to experience some of the pleasures of ordinary romantic companionship," Christopher Benfey writes in an Oct. 9, 2008 piece published on

Also turns out that Dickinson's father was, well, kind of a dick.

Benfey writes, "It turns out that Emily Dickinson had the kind of early romantic entanglement and disappointment that so many young people have. They find someone congenial; they exchange gifts and promises; their parents intervene for various acknowledged and unacknowledged reasons. If such ordinariness seems somehow beneath the dignity of one of our supreme poets, that's probably why even this latest challenge to the image of isolated Emily has gotten so little attention. Alas, there's nothing mysterious or mystical here except what Emily Dickinson made, in her extraordinary poems, of her all-too-human disappointment."

And so, in order to stay with the spirit of things, here's a sexy-time poem by Dickinson:
Wild Nights – Wild Nights! (249)

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
In thee!

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