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A Lady Poet & A Civil War 2024-02-25 16:10:10

(Sunday Book Club)


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To Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)


Dear Emily,

Posthumously, your manuscripts found their way into print. Since then, your readership has been growing steadily.

Today, you are widely recognized as a great American poet. Of course, you can't care less, being no longer around.

When you were around, you must have contended with mundane life, yet you never surrendered to mundanity. Instead, mundanity surrendered to you.

To me, your genius was most explicit in the implicit way you challenged the prosaic mind.

Yes, you might not have rhymed perfectly, but your rhymes were perfectly above the din of lonely crowds in your time (and mine).

In your time, the Civil War frontlines were nowhere near you. Still, you couldn't help feeling that the Civil War was breathing down your neck. War was such a monster.

Putting pen to paper, you told yourself that you hated war. However, you also knew too well that you couldn't live in peace with the slave states---their racism was a human stain that's hard to scrub off even with Lincoln's blood and your tears.

Your noble soul is your poetry. Because of you, many readers may now be finding themselves on the road to Damascus.

Emily, you rock.

Sincerely yours,

renqiulan




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