Her poetry is a universe I can’t wholly comprehend. It is a mysterious world I only glimpse in fragments. I love it.
[Samuel G.] Ward goes on to describe Dickinson’s poetry in perfect pitch. “She was the articulate inarticulate,” that lone voice out of the Puritan wilderness. And we haven’t gotten much closer to Dickinson’s puzzling rhymes, even after more than a century of criticism. We’ve put back into order the little bound booklets—fascicles—that Mabel Loomis Todd ripped apart. We’ve studied the shifts in her handwriting. We have her secret stash of poems and whatever letters we could find— Jay Leyda, a man almost as cryptic as Dickinson herself, believed that we may have uncovered only a minuscule portion of her letters—as little as one tenth. And her letters are every bit as bewildering as the poems, perhaps even more so, because they pretend to give us a clearer picture of the poet. We soon come to realize that’s she’s wearing an assortment of masks—sometimes she’s Cleopatra and an insignificant mouse in the same letter.
From A Loaded Gun: The Real Emily Dickinson. Jerome Charyn, Longreads.
Emily Dickinson’s Letters. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, The Atlantic (1891).
The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson. Ferris Jabr, The New York Times.