Tag Archives: Emily Dickinson

Who Thinks Your Thoughts, Weird Kangaroo?

Who are you, really? Neuroscientists tell us our gut microbiome consists of 100 trillion organism with different DNA from what we inherited from our parents, and that those microbes are connected to our brains via the vagus nerve. Thus those … Continue reading

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Foxy Sex vs. Hedgehog Sex: Free Will, Edward Feser, and Evolution

Thomist philosopher Edward Feser has a curious way of defining free will and what it’s for, writing in a recent blog post the following: “[O]n the conception of free will as ‘freedom for excellence,’ which is endorsed by Aquinas, the … Continue reading

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Vivian Maier: The Emily Dickinson of Photography

I’m super interested in seeing this documentary.

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If Emily Dickinson Wrote a Facebook Profile

Emily Dickinson (poem 288, c. 1861): I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you–Nobody–Too? Then there’s a pair of us! Don’t tell! they’d advertise–you know! __ How dreary–to be–Somebody! How public–like a Frog– To tell one’s name–the livelong June– To an … Continue reading

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An Interview with Charles Hood

__________ Poet and photographer Charles Hood’s most recent book, South x South, based on a trip he made to Antarctica in 2011, has just been published by Ohio University Press (2013). Jordan Davis, poetry editor of The Nation, writes the … Continue reading

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The Tao of Emily, the Calm of Lao Tzu, and Trouble from Blake

Below are two couplets of flower power yin-yang from Emily Dickinson’s poem, “Awake ye muses nine, sing me a strain divine,” written in 1850 when she was aged nineteen. Insofar as anybody knows, it’s the first poem she’d ever written … Continue reading

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Emily Dickinson’s Poem, “My Life had stood–a Loaded Gun–“

I’d like to offer an existentialist interpretation of Emily Dickinson’s famously perplexing poem, “My Life had stood–A Loaded Gun–” (poem 754 in her collected works). Here’s the poem: My Life had stood–a Loaded Gun– In Corners–till a Day The Owner … Continue reading

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Social Butterfly Becomes a Submissive and Hijab Draped Caterpillar

The Protean nature of the self (that is, the water-shifting nature of the self, from the ancient Greek sea god Proteus) is on disturbing display in Katherine Russell, the widow of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Here’s The New York … Continue reading

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Getting a Handle on Kant’s Distinction between the Beautiful and the Sublime

Contained in Immanuel Kant’s (1724-1804) Critique of the Powers of Judgment are his reflections on beauty and the sublime. Beauty, writes Kant, can be defined as something that is good in itself that pleases the eye; it is absent any utility … Continue reading

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The Farthest You’ll Ever See

NASA recently released the below Hubble image. It’s a high quality (2 million second) exposure of deep space galaxies, the most distant of which are 13.2 billion light years away. What you’re seeing is not our time, but the universe … Continue reading

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Are you a member of the faith community—or the doubting community?

Because every other year or so I teach the Bible as literature course at my college, I was asked to be on a panel discussing how to deal with religion in the classroom. The event was held last night and one … Continue reading

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A Fresco Painting from Pompeii Paired with Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom Window (and One of Her Poems)

A bedroom fresco? Whose bedroom? Source: Spiegel And here’s Emily Dickinson’s bedroom window: Dickinson’s bedroom was at her family’s Amherst homestead. Emily’s room was on the second story of their home. Here’s one of her poems: I felt a Cleaving in my … Continue reading

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Are you a person of doubt or a person of faith?

Of course, you might be someone in between: a person committed to certain beliefs in excess of the empirical who nevertheless carries them, not with the triumphalism of certainty, but with the cross of doubt. But I nevertheless think that these two categories—the person of doubt and … Continue reading

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Is America a Christian Nation Founded by Christians?

No. Key players in the founding of America—such as Jefferson, Paine, and Franklin—were not Christians. They were Deists and religious skeptics. And other icons of America’s cultural history—people like Abraham Lincoln and Emily Dickinson—were agnostics with a lot of emotional ambivalence toward … Continue reading

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Was Emily Dickinson an Atheist?

In the December 2009-January 2010 dead tree edition of Free Inquiry (on pages 47-48), Gary Sloan, a retired English professor, did an interesting investigative piece on Emily Dickinson’s relationship to religion. I thought his conclusion quite delicious (because it mirrors my own relationship … Continue reading

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Does Emily Dickinson Call Herself “the only kangaroo among the beauty” in One of Her Poems?

No. But she does in one of her letters. In Emily Dickinson’s letter (dated July, 1862) to Thomas Higginson, a chief editor of The Atlantic Monthly, she writes this delicious, somewhat erotically suggestive, and arguably even naughty, paragraph: Perhaps you smile at … Continue reading

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An Emily Dickinson Poem

Emily Dickinson’s “Much Madness is divinest Sense —”: Much Madness is divinest Sense — To a discerning Eye — Much Sense — the starkest Madness — ’Tis the Majority In this, as All, prevail — Assent — and you are … Continue reading

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Ants Eat a Gecko. 21 Hours. Time. Lapsed.

“Because I could not stop for death . . .” Emily Dickinson would have written a disturbing poem about this: Do you suppose she would have laughed at the ants carting off the skull? There’s something funny about it somehow, … Continue reading

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Emily Dickinson on Telling the Truth

And, implicitly, on how to make art: Tell all the Truth but tell it slant— Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth’s superb surprise As Lightening to the Children eased With explanation kind The Truth … Continue reading

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“Good Friday”: A Poem by Christina Rossetti (Published in 1896)

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,      That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross,      To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss, And yet not weep?   Not so those women loved      Who … Continue reading

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