Though much of contemporary, especially “experimental,” poetry is indebted to Dickinson’s poetics of indirection to create indeterminacy and represent a complex understanding of self, it is often difficult to gauge Dickinson’s influence. Part of the challenge lies in differing attitudes toward truth and the function of indeterminacy in poetry. This essay argues that an important motive for Dickinson’s telling the truth slant is that indirection enabled her to explore complex truths about philosophically and personally difficult subjects while reflecting awareness of and awe toward the unknown. It also argues that Dickinson’s poetics of indirection plays an important role in the work of contemporary poets Christine Hume and Larissa Szporluk and compares poems by each poet directly with Dickinson’s, focusing on how strategies of poetic indirection enable them to articulate complex “interior” truths and Dickinsonian themes to their own ends.


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pp. 77-99
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