The First Writer Who Moved Me

8 Sep
Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Linda Gregerson at the Poetry Society recently wrote about her literarty first love, John Donne. She claims to have encountered Donne at age sixteen, a rather young age to come upon the poet, as I found him difficult when I read him at age twenty in college; specifically, Reading the Traditional British Canon Part I. I certainly appreciate Donne and has vivid imagery. Gregerson’s post made me wonder, who would I consider a literary first love?

The one name that comes to mind is Emily Dickinson. I was given a pocket sized edition of her best poems, I believe as a gift from an aunt who fed my reading habit early on. Perhaps the gift was a throwaway, as it was so tiny- you could only hold it with two fingers. And yet I came to love the immediacy of Dickinson’s language. All of those dashes! The beats were quick- the language syncopated, like music. And the content- the content! Dickinson’s romantic longings echoed my own adolescent yearnings and drama. She wanted so badly to experience the world around her, and it resonated with my thirteen year old self. And yet what got me through difficult adolesclent years was the idea of hope as a bird that flaps its wings uncontrollably within ones’ chest. Hope has never been captured better.

Over the years, Dickinson’s poetry has had less of an impact on me, and yet she was the first poet to truly make an impact on me.

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