By Jerome Charyn
“Remarkable perception . . . [a] certain meditation/investigation. . . . Jerome Charyn the unpredictable, elusive, and enigmatic is a typical fit for Emily Dickinson, the quintessence of these." —Joyce Carol Oates, writer of untamed Nights! and The misplaced Landscape
We imagine we all know Emily Dickinson: the Belle of Amherst, virginal, reclusive, and doubtless mad. yet in A Loaded Gun, Jerome Charyn introduces us to another Emily Dickinson: the fierce, amazing, and sexually charged poet who wrote:
My lifestyles had stood—a Loaded Gun—
Though I than He— could longer live
He longer must—than I—
For i've got however the strength to kill,
Without—the energy to die—
Through interviews with modern students, shut readings of Dickinson's correspondence and handwritten manuscripts, and a suggestive, newly came across photo that's alleged to convey Dickinson along with her lover, Charyn's literary sleuthing finds the nice poet in ways in which have merely been hinted at formerly: as a lady who used to be deeply philosophical, intensely engaged with the realm, drawn to contributors of either sexes, and ready to write poetry that disturbs and delights us today.
Jerome Charyn is the writer of, so much lately, sour Bronx: 13 tales, i'm Abraham: a unique of Lincoln and the Civil struggle, and the key lifetime of Emily Dickinson: a unique. He lives in New York.
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Extra resources for A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century
The imagination appears there as the faculty which allows us to think of our striving for action as a need for a future, as a maladie d'idéalité (as Mallarmé put it) that projects us out of the everyday present into the future: Our destiny, our nature, and our home Is with infinitude, and only there; With hope it is, hope that can never die, Effort, and expectation, and desire, And something evermore about to be. 538-42) When the travelers unsuspectingly set to climbing a mountain that already lies beyond their goal, or when the insurgents head toward destroying the cloister of the Grande Chartreuse with the same naive enthusiasm, there is no doubt that they are driven by the same, almost divine wish and stand under the influence of the poetic faculty.
Yet, despite the perfect closure of the system, the text contains elements that not only disrupt its balance but its principle of production. We saw that the name, be it the proper name of the author or of a place, is an essential link in the chain. But in the striking passage that illustrates the unity of origin and of destination through the metaphor of a flowing river, Wordsworth insists that, whereas the literal sense of the dead figure may indeed be, as in Milton's poem on Shakespeare, a name, "an image gathered from a map, or from the real object in nature," "the spirit .
Can there be autobiography before the eighteenth century or is it a specifically preromantic and romantic phenomenon? Generic historians tend to think so, which raises at once the question of the autobiographical element in Augustine Confessions, a question which, despite some valiant recent efforts, is far from resolved. Can autobiography be written in verse? Even some of the most recent theoreticians of autobiography categorically deny the possibility though without giving reasons why this is so.
A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century by Jerome Charyn