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Faculty Highlights - Ben Friedlander

Here’s what we know about Emily Dickinson: She had a burst of creativity
between 1861 and 1865 — exactly the same time frame as the American Civil War.  Her distant cousin,Francis Howard Dickinson, was killed in the Battle of Ball’s Bluff.  Frazar Stearns, a dear family friend, died in the Battle of New Berne.  The poet wrote personal letters about the war and the death of Stearns.  But here’s the tricky thing:  Most of her poetry isn’t so direct. Oblique language is her trademark.

“Her work is so resistant to definitive interpretations that there can be a controversy over what she intends or even what’s plausible to imagine as the
subject of the poetry,” says Ben Friedlander, a University of Maine associate professor of English and one of the driving forces behind UMaine’s National Poetry Foundation and New Writing Series.

Click here for the complete article by Kristen Andresen UMaine Today, Winter 2011 Issue

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