Emily Dickinson and Charles Wright

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Faith and spirituality can be explored in the poetry of the New England poet Emily Dickinson and the Southern poet Charles Wright. Dickinson seeks for inspiration in the Bible, while Charles Wright looks to Dickinson as a source of information, guidance and inspiration. Wright suggest that “[Dickinson’s] poetry [is] an electron microscope trained on the infinite and the idea of God…. Her poems are immense voyages into the unknowable.”(Quarter) Charles Wright whose poetry captures a compilation of influences states that "There are three things, basically, that [he] writes about — language, landscape, and the idea of God." Dickinson and Wright centered their poetry in their belief in God and both share the influence of the Bible. Although, Emily Dickinson physically isolated herself from the world she managed to maintain friendships by communicating through correspondence. Ironically, Dickinson’s poetry was collected and published after her death. Dickinson explores life and death in most of her poems by questioning the existence of God. Dickinson applies common human experiences as images to illustrate the connection from the personal level of the human being, to a universal level of faith and God. This can be seen in Dickinson’s Poem (I, 45). There's something quieter than sleep Within this inner room! It wears a sprig upon its breast— And will not tell its name. Some touch it, and some kiss it— Some chafe its idle hand— It has a simple gravity I do not understand! I would not weep if I were they— How rude in one to sob! Might scare the quiet fairy Back to her native wood! While simple-hearted neighbors Chat of the "Early dead"— We—prone to periphrasis Remark that Birds have fled! Dickinson employs vivid impressions of death in this poem. In the first line, she employs the analogy between sleep and death; sleep is silent but death lives within silence. She uses the word “it” to help identify something other than human. She declares that “it….will not tell its name” as thought it refuses to speak and then resents the dead for its stillness and laziness. Then she acknowledges the attraction she has to death by doubting its “gravity”. In the third stanza, she expresses that she would not cry for the dead because not only is it offensive to the dead but it might panic the soul to return to dust. Christians believe that from the earth we are made and once we die, we return to the dust of the earth.

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