Friday, June 10, 2022

An editorial emendation written to fit the meter in Emily Dickinson

In R. W. Franklin's edition of Emily Dickinson's poems, number 1591 from 1882 consists of a single line and an editorial emendation: "If I should see a single bird / [remaining text unknown]". When I read this yesterday, I had just read two-and-a-half pages of Dickinson, so I was once again under the spell of her metrical genius and variations. Without even thinking about it, then, I read the phrase in brackets as part of the poem, and it worked metrically as the second line of one of Dickinson's poems in alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and trimeter. I like to imagine Franklin chuckling to himself as he wrote the phrase. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 10 June 2022)

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