Monday, July 18, 2016

Emily Dickinson and Gilligan's Island

Carl Sandburg is my all-time favorite poet. Emily Dickinson not so much . . . until now, when I discovered a sweet little trick to manage Dickinson's poetry.

Emily wrote her poems with a particular meter (rhythm), specifically with common meter. All that means is alternating lines of eight syllables and six syllables. Yeah, I see your eyes glazing over. Don't panic, though, because there's an even better way to categorize her poetry without all the academic syllable counting.

Remember Gilligan's Island? You know, the professor and Mary Ann? Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip? Yeah. That. Got the tune stuck in your head yet? That's good, because that's exactly how you can "read" Dickinson's poetry. Turns out her meter is the same meter used in the Gilligan's Island lyrics. And now that the jingle is playing in your head, give it a whirl . . .

"Heaven"—is what I cannot reach!
The Apple on the Tree—
Provided it do hopeless—hang—
That—"He aven" is—to Me!

The Color, on the Cruising Cloud—
The interdicted Land—
Behind the Hill—the House behind—
There—Paradise—is found!

Her teasing Purples—Afternoons—
The credulous—decoy—
Enamored—of the Conjuror—
That spurned us—Yesterday!

Pretty slick, eh?  Try another . . .

I taste a liquor never brewed  
From Tankards scooped in Pearl 
Not all the Frankfort Berries 
Yield such an Alcohol! 

Inebriate of air – am I  
And Debauchee of Dew 
Reeling thro’ endless summer days  
From inns of molten Blue 

When “Landlords” turn the drunken Bee 
Out of the Foxglove’s door 
When Butterflies – renounce their “drams” 
 I shall but drink the more! 

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats 
And Saints – to windows run 
To see the little Tippler 
Leaning against the Sun!

Go ahead and Google more Dickinson poems. You know you want to.

3 comments:

chappydebbie said...

That's so cool. And FYI, I always have the Gilligan's Island song in my head...I watch it almost every night on MeTv. Did you figure this out or read about it?

Robin Mason said...

love it!! (and i was actually needing some poet references the other day!)

Michelle Griep said...

No, I didn't make this up. Remember . . . good artists copy. Great artists steal.

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