Real People Don’t Read Poetry
Instead, they avoid it like the plague – while remaining completely oblivious to this – and nearly everything else. They have no objection to poetry, they say, they think it is wonderful – they just never get around to reading it.
As part of my innate stubbornness, I am determined to make it part of my life. Although sometimes, as part of the herd, I find myself rejecting it too. In one of my better moments, after reading an excellent review of it, I bought the book Dickinson - which contains a selection of Emily Dickinson’s poems, and a commentary on each of them.
As the author, Helen Vendler, says in her Introduction, Dickinson has survived four “Ages” – The Age of Publication (after her death, when her poems were “cleaned up”), the Age of Biography, the Age of Editing, and the Age of Commentary. In her poem listed as number 930, she says
The Poets light but lamps -
Themselves go out -
Poetic influence does not die with the death of writer.