By Jerome Charyn
“Remarkable perception . . . [a] distinctive meditation/investigation. . . . Jerome Charyn the unpredictable, elusive, and enigmatic is a ordinary fit for Emily Dickinson, the quintessence of these." —Joyce Carol Oates, writer of untamed Nights! and The misplaced Landscape
We imagine we all know Emily Dickinson: the Belle of Amherst, virginal, reclusive, and probably mad. yet in A Loaded Gun, Jerome Charyn introduces us to another Emily Dickinson: the fierce, impressive, and sexually charged poet who wrote:
My existence had stood—a Loaded Gun—
Though I than He— may perhaps longer live
He longer must—than I—
For i've got however the energy to kill,
Without—the strength to die—
Through interviews with modern students, shut readings of Dickinson's correspondence and handwritten manuscripts, and a suggestive, newly came upon picture that's imagined to convey Dickinson along with her lover, Charyn's literary sleuthing finds the nice poet in ways in which have in basic terms been hinted at formerly: as a lady who was once deeply philosophical, intensely engaged with the realm, drawn to contributors of either sexes, and ready to write poetry that disturbs and delights us today.
Jerome Charyn is the writer of, so much lately, sour Bronx: 13 tales, i'm Abraham: a unique of Lincoln and the Civil battle, and the key lifetime of Emily Dickinson: a singular. He lives in New York.
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Additional info for A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century
Mallarme, the Hamlet of writing, as it were, well represents this precarious moment of History in which literary language persists only the better to sing the necessity of its death. Mallarme's typographical agraphia seeks to create around rarefied words an empty zone in which speech, liberated from its guilty social overtones, may, by some happy contrivance, no longer reverberate. The word, dissociated from the husk of habitual cliches, and from the technical reflexes of the writer, is then freed from responsibility in relation to all possible context; it appears in one brief act, which, being devoid of reflections, declares its solitude, and therefore its innocence.
To say that this truth is of a poetic order is merely to say that the Word in poetry can never be untrue, because it is a whole; it shines with an infinite freedom and prepares to radiate towards innumerable uncertain and possible connections. Fixed connections being abolished, the word is left only with a vertical project, it is like a monolith, or a pillar which plunges into a totality of meanings, reflexes and recollections: it is a sign which stands. The poetic word is here an act without immediate past, without environment, and which holds forth only the dense shadow of reflexes from 47 WRITING DEGREE ZERO all sources which are associated with it.
They have therefore undermined literary language, they have ceaselessly exploded the ever-renewed husk of cliches, of habits, of the formal past of the writer; in a chaos of forms and a wilderness of words they hoped they would achieve an object wholly delivered of History, and find again the freshness of a pristine state of language. But such upheavals end up by leav74 AND SILENCE ing their own tracks and creating their own laws. The threat of becoming a Fine Art is a fate which hangs over any language not based exclusively on the speech of society.