Lyrical Encounters : The Material Poetics of Emily Dickinson's Later Manuscript Pages. / Kreider, Kristen.


Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper



The later manuscripts of Emily Dickinson are distinct in that, unlike the poems written before 1875 – poems that Dickinson would transcribe onto clean bifolium sheets of paper and then either bind or group together into ‘fascicles’ and ‘sets’ – these later poems and poetic fragments have been left in their ‘worksheet’ state; that is, scripted onto scraps of paper, the backs of envelopes, bits of newspaper cutting and the like. Exploring the unique material and spatial qualities of Ms. A449, ‘The vastest earthly day,’ I examine how these relate to a writerly and readerly performance of the poems scripted therein. My aim in doing so is to discover how meanings are generated through what I call Dickinson’s material poetics.

My writing, structured through an intimate engagement with each page, is informed by the following line of inquiry: What meanings emerge through a sustained engagement with the material and spatial properties of the page in relation to its verbal message? How does such an engagement span the distance and difference between the poet-in-process in one spatiotemporal context and myself in another, critically engaging with the traces of Dickinson’s scriptural ‘voice’? How does this, in turn, cultivate an embodied subjective relationship between the discursive ‘I’ and ‘you’? Such questions are indicative of my wider aim, which is to evince a nuanced appreciation of lyricism premised upon an embodied and relational encounter between a discursive ‘I’ and ‘you.’
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2010


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