Summer 2014 • Vol. XXXVI No. 3 A SYMPOSIUM ON EMILY DICKINSONJuly 1, 2014 |

Hours

Familiarity is one way to think about what makes a home—a dailiness punctuated by routines that give a certain reliability to existence, or at least a perceived reliability. Routines are a way of parceling out time, and it's this human impulse toward measurement, quantification, mapping, that I want to consider here. Dickinson acknowledges a uselessness and/or irrelevance to this impulse to quantify abstraction, or to treat abstraction quantitatively, in a poem, for example, like 863 (Johnson), where she points out that estrangement is governed by something measureless: That Distance was between Us That is not of Mile or Main— The Will it is that situates— Equator—never can And yet, over and over, Dickinson returns to the subject not just of time in general, but of specific months and seasons. Which is to say, she also acknowledges that, because our passing through time means being constantly vulnerable to the unpredictable, there's an unavoidable desire for someth

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Carl Phillips
Carl Phillips is the author of thirteen books of poems, most recently Reconnaissance (FSG, 2015). He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Of California

By Carl Phillips

Familiarity is one way to think about what makes a home—a dailiness punctuated by routines that give a certain reliability to existence, or at least a perceived reliability. Routines are […]

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