A Moveable Feast: 11th American Literature/Composition

11th American Literature/Composition Winter 2008

October 28-29, 2008: Responding to Emily Dickinson Poetry October 29, 2008

Filed under: Unit 4: Civil War Lit. — The Unquiet Librarian @ 1:28 am
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Look back over the Emily Dickinson poems you have read this evening.  Choose TWO of the poems to analyze (in paragraph format).  Please answer all of these questions about EACH poem you have chosen to explore.  Respond in paragraph format.

  • What is your first reaction to this poem?   Feelings about it?  Possible meanings? 

  • What ideas, thoughts, impressions, and/or images stand out for you after reading this poem?

  • What was most the most interesting, intriguing, or favorite line from this poem?  Why?

  • What line, lines, stanza, or stanzas were most confusing to you?  Why?  

  • What words in this poem seem especially important to you?  Why?

  • What seems to be the mood or feeling of this poem?  What words create this mood?

  • What literary devices or poetic devices (if any) did you notice about this poem?
  • What are your impressions of the way the stanzas and line breaks are organized and presented?  Do you think these choices were intentional?  Why might the poet organize the poem as she has?
  • Would you recommend this poem to someone else?  Why or why not?  How do you feel about the poem?
  • What connections can you make with this poem?  How do you relate to this poem?  Or if you do not connect with this poem, why do you think this is? 
  • What qualities of this poem seem unique to Dickinson’s style of writing and choice of themes?
  • What is one question or a point of confusion you have about this poem?
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5 Responses to “October 28-29, 2008: Responding to Emily Dickinson Poetry”

  1. Kayla Says:

    “If you were coming in the Fall”
    My first reaction to this poem is that she would do anything for this person she is waiting for. I felt that she had very strong feelings about waiting for this person, I assume lover. Could have a possible meaning as a secret lover. That when you’re in love, you would wait a day, a year, or even eternity for your love. The last stanza in this poem is my favorite because it does hurt when you are forced or just can’t see your love for your whole entire life. That stanza tells me that Dickinson could have been fighting depression problems. The mood of this poem seems to be loving and sad because she is waiting which shows she cares but she could be waiting forever which makes a sad feeling. Dickinson had her own literary devices like putting dashes and capitalizing her own words to emphasize the meaning. It shows with the lines and breaks that she was exploring her own literary language. This was intentional; this was to help you understand. I would recommend this poem to someone else because some people are waiting for their love and this could give them hope or give them reality. I feel that this poem is a work of art. I like this poem because it gives hope to a person in a familiar situation.

    “The Soul selects her own Society”
    My first reaction to this poem was confusion. I was not sure what Dickinson was trying to say in this poem. The possible meanings in this poem are that people can be their own person and not have to follow society. Her idea with one choosing their own path is intriguing. The second stanza is most confusing to me because I have no idea what she means in it. The word selects is what stands out to me because it is choosing. The mood seems to be like a free feeling. I see her use her own literary devices in this poem, none of the others I can pick out. Dickinson had her own literary devices like putting dashes and capitalizing her own words to emphasize the meaning. It shows with the lines and breaks that she was exploring her own literary language. This was intentional; this was to help you understand. I would probably recommend this poem to someone else that follows the crowd. Her use of dashes in this poem is especially wild. She uses a lot of them in this poem.

  2. Alanah Says:

    “If you were coming in the fall” My first reaction to this poem is that she is lonely and wants to meet her lover.Nothing really stood out to me in this poem she just seemed really depressed.the most interesting thing in this poem is how she keeps increasing the time until she gets to see him.centuries, years, seasons are important words in this poem. there are not manyqualities in this poem that stood out besides that she was depressed and could not wait any longer to see her true love.
    my confusion with this poem is that she is very depressed and i didnt like it.

    my first reaction to the peom my life closes twice before its close was that the speaker has had two major life problems and she has had near death experience.i do not relate to this poem at all. i have never hd my life close before it closes.
    i would not recommend this poem to someone else because it was very boring.there were not very many wualities to this poem that seemed unique.it yet remains to see was a very confusing line in this poem to me.my life is an important phrase in this poem.

  3. matt Says:

    If you were comingin the fall…..My first reaction is that the main character spent to much time waiting. The poem had good meaning but was very boring. I think the story means that she will wait forever for the person and her love will never dye. The thing that most stood out to me was the amount of time she would wait on this person. Lines one threw five were my favorite lines of the poem. The mood of the story was very lonely and depressing. I didn’t really make a connection with the poem but I understood where she was coming from.

    The soul selects her own seciety……my first reaction top the poem is that the speakerisn;t very social. And the poem means that a person chooses who thety want around them. Again the poem wasd pretty boring but it didn’t have goodmeaning. I don’t think that she should have written so much to say so litlle. Lines 5 threw 11 really stood out to me. The mood is very dramatic. I understand what shes sayin but I had no connection.

  4. jackie Says:

    I think that Miss Dickinson was feeling very depressed in the poem Much Madness is divinest Sense. Well the part in the poem that caught my eye was ” To a diserning eye”. ” To a discerning eye” because there are so many images you can get in your head of what this would mean. Well in the poem the line i was having trouble with would be “In this, as All, prevail”. I had no idea what this was trying to say. The mood to this poem to me is depressing and madness. I think the words that made this poem so sad was Discerning eye, prevail, and madness. Imagery is one device that i noticed. The way this poem is prresnted is in a wierd font. They are very much on intenion. Well i think she organized the poem the way she did is because it is her own unique way to write. If someone who loves Emily Dickinson should read this poem. It was unique. I myself dont like the poem its just not my style. I know how depression is and can tell how she feels about this. Well the way that things are puncuated and capitalized in the poem.Why does Dickinson write the way she does.

  5. jackie Says:

    This was a well thought out piece. In Sucess is counted sweetness i felt that this poem was a part of Dickinsons past. Well the way she words her poem is intelligent. Just picturing the war after reading the poem stands out to me. I picture the was. ” Not one of all the purple host” stood out to me the most. It just mad eme picture and thing what she was talking about. i would have to say that Victory stood out to me the most. Victory is such a strong meaning. I would have to say ” The distant strains of triumph” was confusing to me because i had no idea what that meant until someone had told me what it meant. The feeling that the poem gave me was a happy and intriging . Just having Victory in the poem just made is pop. I can see imagery in this poem so well. The way the lines break nd the wording in the poem were out of the ordinary. She made the breaks in the lines to have something orginal. This is her way of expressing herself. Anyone who loves wa would love this poem. It is very interesting. I think this is my favorite poem so far from Emily Dickinson. I think that this poem is meant to represent love and war. The way that she has organized her poem is unique and original. What made Miss Dickinson write about the things she wrote about?


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