According to the article by Marjorie Perloff "Emily Dickinson and the Theory Canon" - located at Buffalo University's Electronic Poetry Center and available at [ http://epc.buffalo.edu/<wbr />authors/perloff/articles/<wbr />dickinson.html ] - Emily Dickinson remains problematic to contemporary post-structuralist and Derridean Deconstruction theorists.
Fugue of Death
Black milk of daybreak we drink it at nightfall we drink it at noon in the morning we drink it at night we drink it and drink it we are digging a grave in the sky it is ample to lie there A man in the house he plays with the serpents he writes he writes when the night falls to Germany your golden hair Margarete he writes it and walks from the house the stars glitter he whistles his dogs up he whistles his Jews out and orders a grave to be dug in the earth he commands us strike up for the dance
making use of very specific circumstance and detail in order to offer up a poignant vision of destruction caused via nihilism. Men, dogs, dance and stars are all helpless to conjure the particularity of presence Dickinson evokes, despite his uniqueness of reference and its precision. Dickinson seems to say, no matter what anyone does, it is written in the record of life, Celan seems to say no matter what is written in the record of life, it could be anyone who has written it. They are both much needed perspectives, but perhaps, since the project of post-structuralism was to loosen the world's overt-tight reins upon meaning, it is understandably easier for them to adopt directness of approach upon Celan's existential statement, while their very silence regarding Dickinson's bouyant optimism amounts to a great show of respect. Deconstruction theory came specifically of age during great social upheaval in the 1960's and it has never been very divorced from its revolutionary sensibility. Poets of overt resistance seem to suit its needs best (such as Coleridge). However Dickinson's coy, contradictory and often playful approach, while embodying post-structuralist style and technique, are not as easily appropriable to its specific end or project, perhaps, currently and regarding the very recent past.
Adrienne Rich in "Vesuvius At Home" (Adrienne Rich's Poetry And Prose, Norton, 1975) page 191 states of Dickinson, "[t]he poet experiences herself as loaded gun, imperious energy", perhaps meaning that Emily's dynamism is the new Empire of The Good ready to challenge the Evil Empire. Indeed, Emily's reclusiveness was a smoke-screen, she was one of the friendliest and most polite souls, generating an amazing corpus of letters which amply demonstrate intense goodwill fostering connection and evolution in an intensely changing and growing socius. Celan only knew the Evil Empire, and European sensibility was years away from the current political formation of The European Union which expressly stands against the possibility of a Western (and Eastern) Europe united in the hatred of the Axis, World War II powers. This Empire of The Good is armed, however, and ready to use force against villainy, and a sense of chivalry, and a cooperative nature infuse the writings of Emily Dickinson. Even at her most brutal and problematic,
(Dickinson Poems, Johnson #905)
Split the Lark - and you'll find the Music -