One of the most striking things about the poems of Emily Dickinson, as well as her life, is the stunning focus they put on the individual and his or her experience. Whereas poetry of other kinds can express ideas and thoughts on a nationalistic or larger scope, hers were all about the experiences of her world and her own thoughts. Her poems stand true as some of the greatest in American literature because of the abundant creativity of her imagination, as well as the depth of her literary talent.
“Wild Nights, Wild Nights” expresses her feelings of solitude and likely even a preference for it; instead of going out to spend the night with other people, she would prefer to keep her “ship in port” and work on her poems. Her nature is not necessarily one of active sociability, but as her poetic style displays, hers is one of more reflection and remembrance and the thinking out of her ideas.
Any questions about Dickinson’s work comes from her own immense self-awareness and her awareness as a poet. There can be considered flakes of humor throughout her work, and one questions if not a general knowledge of that should be used to read her works. Some of her observations, such as in “I heard a fly buzz when I died,” make one ask if she felt unusually strong about death and illness. For someone who must have imagined her own funeral more than a few times, she surely might have had questions about the afterlife or God.
Emily Dickinson, despite publishing so few works during her own time, is one of the most striking domestic observers in American literature and one whose voice surprises and startles with self-consciousness. She is never afraid to tackle issues such as death or loss and that’s one of the things that make her such a strong poetic voice. Her strength is in the questions that still bother us today, such as love, the soul, nature, and the spirit.

By Matthew C. Brock


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