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Dickinson UnboundPaper, Process, Poetics$
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Alexandra Socarides

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199858088

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858088.001.0001

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Methods of Unmaking

Methods of Unmaking

Dickinson’s Late Drafts, Scraps, and Fragments

Chapter:
(p.130) Chapter 5 Methods of Unmaking
Source:
Dickinson Unbound
Author(s):

Alexandra Socarides

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858088.003.0005

This chapter turns to Dickinson’s late poems, the scraps and fragments that she wrote on equally scrap-like materials from her home. Attention to the lines that Dickinson wrote on the inside flaps of discarded envelopes and the back sides of shopping lists, advertisements, bills, and recipes shows that in the midst of what has always seemed like a disintegration of her systematic compositional practices, Dickinson was actually returning to the fascicles to rewrite, revise, redact, and what I call “unmake” this poetry in a new material context. By looking closely at this largely untreated stage in Dickinson’s compositional process, I argue that Dickinson’s literal material contexts continue to make all the difference to the poems themselves, as the scrap-like paper prompts Dickinson to write poems which, as the draft manuscripts show so vividly, have a very hard time coming to their ends.

Keywords:   drafts, scraps, fragments, household paper, revision

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