Wait, Dr. B—I can see where this is going with Whitman clearly a rocker but with Tennyson and Dickinson, I think you’re kind of stretching it, no? and Eliot? With all due respect ma’am you may be out there just a bit beyond the limb? So to speak . . . Just saying. . . Well, stay tuned, dear Poetry Slow Down good listener you! And thank you for tuning in, to OUR POETRY SLOW DOWN, making the morning last, and we’re going to rock it today, what Emily Dickinson referred to as Chaos—stopless-cooooooooool, amplitude and awe
in the stanzas, we’re going to make the improbable and outrageous case for Dickinson as
“Wild and Rocking Nobody: Emily Dickinson As Cross-Over Artist, Crossly Crossing the Line from Hymn-billy Gospel Anarchist to Rock Star,”
a vision invoked or provoked by the Emily Dickinson International Society meeting at Cleveland on “Emily Rocks!”—for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as world renown Dickinson scholars peruse these hallowed halls featuring this month The Grateful Dead song lyrics, exhibits on Janis Joplin . . . What delicious disturbance is this, a double oxymoron, Ms. Nobody herself at a Hall of Fame of all the somebodies–and, the Iconic Emily Dickinson in the ethos of Rock N Roll—we’re going to shake up this insight into Dickinson afforded by the lens of this locale: rattle an interpretation of Dickinson as a rock and roll sensibility in her time, Emily Dickinson as a black-hat incarnation of wild man/woman rebel like Mick Jagger and Janis Joplin, and how 21st century artists have appropriated this role in such anthem songs as “Wild Horses”—from China’s pioneering rock and roll legend Cui Jian to Britain’s-Got-Talent Susan Boyle—we see Dickinson’s persona as a black hat in a truly black dress—do we dare, she asks, to see a SOUL at the white heat, finally wearing only a white dress, a rebel in lyric form, a voice of wild irrepressibility of unstoppable force against silence, against invisibility, against repression, against oppression, against anything that shuts up the spirit– in the paradoxical persona of Nobody. Somehow, in this context, being “nobody” is liberating: “How dreary to be somebody—how public—like a frog—to tell one’s name the livelong day to an admiring bog!”—she’s such a bad girl. She’s such a rebel. She’s such a freedom writer. Dickinson appears in our age as a rock star in her own right, mixing genres and covering—dis-covering—wildness in the mind’s wild West, in ways of wildness that rock around the clock, around the year as Dickinson puts on the ritz–y crown, the dangling diadem, famous-NOT as a rebel black-hatted star of our times. ‘Soto! She calls intimately and a little disrespectfully to Fernando De Soto, explorer of the U.S., Explore thyself! Therein thyself shalt find The Undiscovered Continent—no settler had the mind! –-No, she’sno settler, she rocks and rolls, she won’t stay put, she’s brave and bold and sassy and serious about rocking the night away.