Short Takes: Dickinson in the Digital Age

Andrew David King
August 28, 2012
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“Mad people = people who stand alone + burn,” wrote Susan Sontag in her journals. “I’m attracted to them because they give me permission to do the same.” Read some of her other quotes about love—illustrated gorgeously by Wendy MacNoughton—here.

Potentially the first English-to-English translation of Emily Dickinson for our (post-)modern era.

A new video of Anne Sexton, the writer of the following lines (from the end of “All My Pretty Ones”):

…The diary of your hurly-burly years

goes to my shelf to wait for my age to pass.

Only in this hoarded span will love persevere.

Whether you are pretty or not, I outlive you,

bend down my strange face to yours and forgive you.

“Dialogue,” “Torque,” “Rhizome,” “Present Tense,” “1557,” “Buzz Bomb,” “Up Against the Primal Lack,” and other names Bruce Andrews and Charles Bernstein entertained calling their magazine L=A=N=G=U=A=G=Ein 1977.

Early additions of Poetry Magazine, including work by Langston Hughes (Flickr/Creative Commons; Joanna Bourne)

On the (always perpetually impending) apocalypse in literature, theology, and thought at the blog of the New York Review of Books: “The great English critic Frank Kermode thought that poets—unlike some politicians—were proof against enchantment by the dream or nightmare—of the apocalypse. Yeats’s apocalyptic beast that ‘slouches towards Bethlehem to be born’ (in his 1920 poem ‘The Second Coming’) is safely wrapped in the allusive language of myth, contained by the broader frame of the poet’s ‘clerical skepticism.’”

Now the mystical process of decoding that rejection letter is made a little easier by the Rejection Wiki, where you can read the letters others have received.

The prophecies of Nostradamus have been retranslated:

6. 37

The ancient work shall be fulfilled in time :

The roof shall come crashing down on the lord :

An innocent blamed for the mortal crime,

The culprit hiding in the misty grove.


Poetry engraved in the sidewalk in St. Paul, Minnesota (Flickr/Creative Commons; McAli333)

There have been a few imbroglios over Jane Austen being edited in the past, but none quite approach the issues invoked by writing sex scenes into Pride and Prejudice (and Jane Eyre, Sherlock Holmes, Northanger Abbey, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, etc.).

It seems that rarest of occasions happened not too long ago: the barroom poetry brawl.

“EVERYTHING IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE”: so reads the lettering over the doors of the Bowery Poetry Club, which recently—and sadly—closed.

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