Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A still -- Volcano -- Life --

...this poem by Emily Dickinson appears in the introduction of Kamilla Denman's essay "Emily Dickinson's Volcanic Punctuation", which I found tonight after watching a PBS docudrama on the 1883 eruption of the volcano Krakatoa and the resulting tsunami.

In the essay Denman says "to look at Dickinson's punctuation purely as a disruption of language, then, is to miss this musical dimension, where the semantic and rhythmic disruptions are smoothed through an implied melody". An implied melody. I like that. Hmm --

4 comments:

Tracy said...

Interesting to place Dickenson in a feminist discourse. This is similar to my study of Gertrude Stein and her disruption of the sentence. The movement of her writing occurs through the gaps, repetition and sound.

Rachel DuPlessis talks about this in her book _Writing Beyond the Ending_ and she states that "[t]o break the sentence rejects not grammar especially, but rhythm, pace, flow, expression: the structuring of the female voice by the male voice, female tone and manner by male expectations, female writing by male emphasis, female writing by existing conventions of gender--in short, any way in which dominant structure shape muted ones".

Tracey said...

Dickinson. Can't spell anymore.

Brenda Schmidt said...

Interesting.

I like where Denman says "[t]he exclamation mark is a vertical, phallic figure, connected with the certainty of "Eureka!" and with erections, steeples, and religious faith". Frankly I hadn't thought of exclamation marks in that way before. Poem 92, with its overuse of these, becomes quite another reading experience with that in mind.

It looks like more thoughts on the essay are forthcoming from John MacKenzie over at Salt and Ice.

Brenda Schmidt said...

Update: Here are John's surprising comments. Considering my initials, imagine me reading all that...