Emily Dickinson, Woman of Letters

Poems and Centos From Lines in Emily Dickinson's Letters

By Lewis Turco

Subjects: Women's Studies
Paperback : 9780791414187, 164 pages, July 1993
Hardcover : 9780791414170, 164 pages, July 1993

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Table of contents



Poems: A Sampler of Hours

Cloth of Dreams
The Harper of Stillness
Crimson Children
The Ear of Silence
The Mower
A Memoir of Evening
Scarlet Expectations
Mansions of Mirage
A Dainty Sum
Marble Rooms
An Old Tale
Morning Music
Twilight Touches Amherst
The Gift
The Cage
Four Small Dogs
The Deep Stranger
Brown Study
The Amherst Fire
A Pearl Jail
May, Merely
An Amherst Haiku
The Miller's Tale
The Naked Eye
A Morning Picture
Theme and Variation
A New Year
Summer's Chariot
Small Victory
Among the Stones
First Snow
An Amherst Pastoral
Just God
A Dream of Roses
Fading Things
An Orator of Feather
The Winter Garden
Winter Bouquet
Flowers in Season
Last Summer
Late Fall
Amherst Neighbors
An Amherst Christmas
An Amherst Calendar
The Clock

Essays by Various Hands

"Knock with / tremor": When Daughters Revise "Dear Father"
Jeanne Holland, University of Wyoming

The Encoding of Homoerotic Desire: Emily Dickinson's Letters and Poems to Susan Dickinson 1850-1886
Ellen Louis Hart, University of California at Santa Cruz

Words Doing: Dickinson's Language as Autonomous Action
David W. Hill, State University of New York College at Oswego

The Shot Bird's Progress: Emily Dickinson's Master Letters
Marta Werner, State University of New York at Buffalo

Index of Poetry Titles and First Lines

General Index


Buried in Emily Dickinson's letters are many lines that are stunningly beautiful, as beautiful as any to be found in her poems. Lewis Turco has taken some of these lines and written poems from them, on them, and around them. This volume, then, is a collaboration between two writers, one a 19th-century woman whose work became known to most readers only in the 20th century, and the other a post-modernist man of letters—an award-winning poet, critic, and scholar.

In addition to the poems collected here, Turco has written an informative introduction and included several essays by feminist critics and other scholars who discuss various aspects of Emily Dickinson's letters.

Emily Dickinson, Woman of Letters is therefore at once an addition to the Dickinson canon, a distinguished collection of contemporary poems, an important volume of critical scholarship in American literature, and a fascinating reading experience that will appeal to a wide audience of professionals and non-professionals alike.

Lewis Turco is Professor of English and Director of the Program in Writing Arts at the State University of New York College at Oswego. He has written many books including The Book of Forms; The New Book of Forms; Dialogue; and The Shifting Web: New and Selected Poems. His awards include the 1986 Melville Cane Award of the Poetry Society of America, the Silverfish Review Chapbook Competition, and the 1990 Cooper House Chapbook Prize from Poet magazine.


"The book insists that we reintegrate our experience of poetry and this poet, Emily Dickinson. The fusion of art—superb original poetry—with deeply informed criticism is the book's outstanding characteristic. It is beautifully written by all hands. " — H. R. Coursen, Bowdoin College

"You have to be pretty damned nimble to get inside Emily Dickenson's head, but it feels from what I've seen that Turco has done it. I think Dickinson would have been fascinated. " — Constance Carrier, winner of the Lamont Award of the Academy of American Poets, author of The Middle Voice, and The Angled Road