EDJE Introduction

An Experiment in Criticism

“Necessitates Celerity/Lombart Chocolate Wrapper.” Image from the Digital Collections of Amherst College; source.

EDJE is an ongoing experiment in a mode of criticism that, instead of an explication of a text, offers something closer to a translation, or transformation, or reply to it. 

The left column gives poems by Emily Dickinson, numbered according to R. W. Franklin’s edition of The Poems of Emily Dickinson (Harvard 1998). The right column is by me.

The “translations” or “transforms” in the right column are attempts to find my way into and out of Dickinson’s text, sometimes with assistance from contextual and biographical information, but more often by following my ear and sense of form as my guide to the mysteries of ED’s expression. I make no claims for these “translations” as poems in their own right, though I do work to give each one an integrity and formal structure.