“Because I could not stop for community college, it kindly stopped for me.”

Following a trail of breadcrumbs from my friend Liza Monroy’s website, I found William Bowers’ really exceptional essay “All We Read is Freaks” at The Rumpus.  Bowers writes about his childhood love of Dickinson and the heartbreak of grasping for poetry and finding it insufficient to inspire his community college students in Gainesville, Florida.  At the same time, Emily Dickinson’s poetry gives the author a framework, more permeable and yet with the same tensile strength as the religious admonitions that surrounded him in childhood and as a teacher with his own sad Southern Gothic.*

Mural of Emily Dickinson on a wall at West Cemetery in Amherst, Massachusetts where the poet is buried

*Apologies to Bowers, who comments on his distaste for the overuse–and misuse–of that word

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