Thoughts on I Dwell in Possibility

Category: ModPoPenn

So, I’m totally excited to begin the Modern and Contemporary American Poetry class from the University of Pennsylvania Kelly Writers House through Coursera.

We all have our lenses

Surely it is the fate of writers and poets to have their writings interpreted in way they never intended. Especially after they die and all bets are off as it were. Whatever Emily Dickinson had to say on any matter has been said and we hobbyests are now free to draw our conclusions out of the air and run them through that Great Rationalizer in our heads. Right or wrong, I can’t help but do this when I read I Dwell in Possibility.

There is much discussion about whether this is a meta-poem; a poem about poetry and it surely is, but the more often I read it, the more I wonder if the “I” who is speaking is not, at least at the very moment of poetic conception, Creativity herself. She does indeed dwell in Possibility and would consider it “fairer than Prose” especially if one were willing to consider the word “prose” as a poetically viable stand-in for the more technically inclusive “the arts of language”.

When Creativity is speaking, her fair Visitors would be artists, mathematicians, writers, actors, scientists and engineers. In short, anyone for whom The Spark is a non-negotiable. From Creativity’s point of view, these eager visitors in all their chaotic numbers must represent a gathering Paradise.

Of course, this doesn’t fit very neatly with the common wisdom that Emily Dickinson was an elitist. Are you willing to consider working Creatives to be a type elite? I’m not really. I believe Creativity touches us all in the form of accident and coincidence and is behooves me to acknowledge that the Poet was probably not writing from this perspective. My lens blurs her intention.

I am pleased with the chance to immerse myself deeply in poetry. To feel my tired Rationalizer unclench it’s hold on What It Knows and begin to flex and beat to the rhythms of the questions.