An Unaccustomed Wine: Poems of Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson’s poetry may be the ultimate tribute to the beauty of language, full of imagery and metaphors that linger in our minds. Yet its exquisite distillations taunt readers with riddles and hint at hidden meanings in the nature of life. We will explore the essential questions she raises — of Death, Time, Truth — through Shared Inquiry, working together toward richer insight and deeper understand of her poetic voice.
Longtime partners in life and learning Denise Ahlquist and JJ Patton are excited to explore the cornucopia of riches that Emily Dickinson’s poems comprise. Denise’s background in women’s studies and American literature, plus years of leading Shared Inquiry discussions with the Great Books Foundation, are complemented perfectly by JJ’s unique perspective and deep understanding of the art of poetry.
Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them, edited by Cristanne Miller
(Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 2016)
Participants are required to obtain the specified edition to facilitate the group’s ability to find and cite portions of the text during discussion.
Emily Dickinson’s poetry may be the ultimate tribute to the beauty of language, full of stunning imagery and metaphors that linger in our minds. Yet its exquisite distillations taunt readers with riddles and hint at hidden meanings in the nature of life. The essential questions she raises — of Death, Time, Truth — combined with the unflinching integrity of her vision and the uniqueness of her poetic voice are unforgettable, yielding even richer insights and deeper understanding when explored through Shared Inquiry discussion.
This seminar will focus on an exciting new edition that collects Emily Dickinson’s complete work, for the first time arranged in the order she personally copied the poems — “as she preserved them.” This fresh approach provides enjoyably readable access to the full complexity of Dickinson’s genius, while the interesting inclusion of the alternative words and revisions she considered, plus brief notes on her quotations, allusions, and the contexts of her words, shed light on how she developed her beautiful precision. Exploring Dickinson as reader, thinker — and most emphatically as working poet — helps us better see her Truth along the distinctive Slant she employs.
Although we will be concentrating on the poetry, the myths of her personal life inspire ongoing curiosity and regular revisions of the contexts within which readers situate her work. The seminar will provide some framing information based on new scholarship on both the manuscripts her biography, plus briefly positioning her work within the historical and intellectual time period in which she lived.
Discover and drink the unaccustomed wine — the genius of Emily Dickinson.
Toronto Pursuits 2023
See the Toronto Pursuits 2023 page for full details on the program schedule, health and safety, booking your accommodations, terms and conditions, and more.
“Many a phrase has the English language — I have heard but one — Low as the laughter of the Cricket, Loud, as the Thunder’s Tongue”
— Emily Dickinson, Fascicle .12, Sheet 7
Concert ticket, Not eligible for discount, Five times, With friend, Gift registration