Friday, November 4, 2016

Because I could not stop for Death

It's rather the perfect Halloween Poem: Death takes you out on a romantic ride, or so it seems at first glance. Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" is a brilliant composition in six stanzas of decreation. For a reliable text of the poem, see

Dickinson rarely gave titles to the poems that she inscribed into her own hand-crafted and hand-sewn notebooks, and this is no exception, but over time, first lines have provided titles. You will notice that Dickinson's favorite punctuation mark appears to be the dash, and it has taken a century for her editors to respect her own punctuation. Was that because she was a woman?

So it is helpful to check any published version of a Dickinson text against her own handwriting. It is now possible to do that on-line through the Emily Dickinson archive:

Visit Dickinson's surroundings ---

If you are a casual reader, The Emily Dickinson Homestead offers their own poem of the week: .  
More academic readers may enjoy links to "Digital Dickinson" here:

Listen to an NPR (National Public Radio) broadcast about Dickinson: