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Forum Home > Poetry > Emily Dickinson and Elegy, 11am, Sunday 2nd December

Will May
Member
Posts: 141

My name's Will May, and I'll be running a seminar on Emily Dickinson and elegy this coming Sunday morning at 11. Sunday at 11 is early for an online seminar, but it's a good time to think about elegy.  Three weeks ago, on Armstice Sunday, it's very likely you might have been at a remembrance service. It's also likely poetry was used somewhere in that service to commemorate the dead. Why do we turn to poetry when words fail? How do elegies mourn the dead? Can Dickinson's poems, apparently so private, be thought of as elegies? Here are some things to help you prepare for the seminar:

1. Watch this short clip from 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', where John Hannah reads Auden's poem 'Funeral Blues':  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_a-eXIoyYA

Thinking about this performance, make a list of its 'private' and 'public' qualities of an elegy (the speaker's tone, the 'I' voice, the way the dead person is addressed', the civic role of an elegy). Taking this poem as a starting point, how might you define an elegy?

2. Read Emily Dickinson's poems 'Because I Could Not Stop for Death' and 'I heard  Fly buzz', which you can find on the links below.

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15395

http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15393

Can we think of these as elegies? Do they fit with the definition you made in last activity? What makes them different (think about who is dead, who is being elegised, and what has been lost in the poem)? Are they interested in commemoration?

 

I look forward to seeing in the online seminar on Sunday - even when the topic is elegy, the more the merrier!

Will May

Lecturer in English, University of Southampton

November 26, 2012 at 8:55 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 921

The seminar seems as quietly intense as a Dickinson poem...perhaps Will you could suggest answers to some of the questions you posed about the nature of Elegy.

December 2, 2012 at 6:06 AM Flag Quote & Reply

shaggy
Member
Posts: 2

Hmmm - I stressed to students they needed to come and take part in this . . . clearly they didn't listen . . .

 

December 3, 2012 at 11:47 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Neil Bowen
Administrator
Posts: 921

shaggy at December 3, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Hmmm - I stressed to students they needed to come and take part in this . . . clearly they didn't listen . . .

 

Don't worry, we'll re-schedule a seminar later in the year. I'll let you know once Will and I have sorted a date. I presume your students would prefer a revision seminar in the run up to their exams?

December 3, 2012 at 11:52 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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