Emily Dickinson – Literary Crazy

As I work on my book proposal (no, I have not finished it yet…) I am still trying to squeeze in homework and, well…… life, I had an interesting assignment in my English Lit class. Because I am working so hard at getting this book proposal finished, I’m using every opportunity I can, to turn school assignments into something related to my book. For my Technical Writing class, for example, I am using the “fake” grant proposal assignment to work on an actual request for a grant for my writing. If you’re just tuning in, I’m working on a non-fiction book where I explore mental illness and creativity, specifically in famous authors.

My sample chapter for the book proposal is on Emily Dickinson. It is believed she suffered from Bipolar Disorder. The assignment (exam) for English Lit, was to write a poem using the style of Beowulf (which is a VERY long poem) about a “hero.” I wrote the following poem. The professor sent me a audio clip of her feedback (I attend online this semester since the baby is coming and it is easier to fit into my crazy life). She really seemed to love the poem, so I thought I would share it with you. Poetry is really not my thing….meaning, I’d rather write prose. Either way, I scored a 100 on the exam and am one step closer to being done with this semester and earning my Professional Writing Certificate!

The poem had to include certain things such as alliteration (those are in italics), kennings (compressed metaphors in bold, with the explanation in parentheses), and imagery.

I would love to hear what you think. Be sure to leave comments!!

Emily Dickinson – Literary Crazy

Your prose demands attention / Famous you now are

Though fame was not welcomed by you in life / Death it seems, fits you

How appropriate given your talent / Your obsession with death

Deep, dark, dank, developed / Prose full of meaning

Situated in the macabre / Death looming in the background

It is full of mystery / No one can put down

Your room a hide away from the world / Like a personal cave

Your quill-hand (pen in hand) always writing / So many poems you leave us to read

I admire your ability to write / Even when one is depressed as you must have been

Over 1,800 poems / Packed with your brain-juice (intelligence/creativity)

You must have desired to hide away / Rather than sit up and write

How your depression made you appear crazy / To all who knew you

Your legacy lives in light / Despite the darkness you word-drew (imagery writing)

Visitors you would not receive / As you stowed away in your parents’ home

A depressed life it seemed / Like a black crow dying in the field

I admire your bravery / Like a front line solider in battle

Though you never saw the outcome / Your world famous status

You took something so painful / And expressed yourself brilliantly

Though to you I’m sure it felt like pain / Expression came through writing

How you pulled through / I’ll never know

I can only imagine the pain / With no modern day medicine

Though your depression might have been your driving force

It made you the literary crazy hero you are today

Loved around the world / If only you could have seen

How everyone knows you / And acknowledges your brilliant mind

Through they may never understand your driving force

I see the brilliance in your writing / The bereavement-attention brings us life (focus on death)

Sincerely, forever fallen in favor / With your brilliant crazy mind

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