My Research and Analysis of the Word "Immortality" in Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop For Death"

Posted by Maddie on October 21, 2011 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Pasted below is my research and of Emily Dickinson's use of the word "Immortality" in "Because I Could Not Stop for Death."

Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” is famous for its description of Death as a courteous suitor. “Immortality,” one of the three carriage passengers, is not recognized for its full importance perhaps because it is difficult to understand the role immortality’s personification is meant to play in the poem. The literary critics Richard Chase, Theodore Hoepfner, and Maria Farland attempt to decode “Immortality[‘s]” meaning; but, they disagree with one another over its definition and purpose. Richard Chase views Dickinson’s personification of the “Immortality” as “meretricious and unnecessary,” and a technical flaw. He argues that the capitalization challenges common sense because “Immortality ought to be the destination of the coach and not one of the passengers” (Chase 249-250). Chase interprets “Immortality” as synonymous with “heaven” ; he argues that a place cannot be treated as if “heaven” were a carriage passenger. On the contrary, Theodore Hoepfner and Maria Farland believe Dickinson has an intention to treat “Immortality” as a person, but they have differing views on the its purpose. Hoepfner debates that Chase is incorrect because “Immortality” represents the soul, not heaven. He writes, “the image of the carriage and driver is appropriate….The soul is immortal, and our immortality, therefore “rides” always with us as a copassenger…because the soul is our immortal part … journeying with us” (Hoepfner 96). Maria Farland offers a differing suggestion for the personification of immortality. She believes Dickinson’s “Immortality” causes the relief the reader feels in the first three stanzas. Farland believes “702” illustrates the popular view of death and immortality in Dickinson’s time. Her view sets up “harmonious images that recall[s] sentimentality’s domestication of death” as a gentlemanly suitor. The “harmonious” view is later rejected in the final stanzas where death is portrayed realistically (Farland 372-373). Farland sees the personification of immortality as a tool for comfort in order to make the reader assume life has some sort of eternity rather than the abrupt end to the grave, “a house that seemed/ A swelling of the ground” (Farland 17-8). Although immortality gives human beings instant relief, Poem “702” provides the most evidence to support Hoepfner’s interpretation of “Immortality.” The separation between the soul and the body is emphasized physically in the first stanza: the word “Immortality” is placed separately to suggest no connection between the other passengers in the carriage, Death and the narrator. In the last two stanzas of Dickinson’s “702,” the stanza regarding “Immortality” is physically separated from the stanza regarding the body. The stanza with the graveyard symbolizes the body’s final destination in the ground while the last stanza illustrates the livelihood of the soul looking back on life from “Eternity.” Darker in illustration, these stanzas support Farland’s view that the poem progressively reveals the optimistic assumption of “Immortality” as flawed. Although the “pause” of the carriage in the fifth stanza represents a stop in motion and a final endpoint where the body is destined to the ground, the last stanza refutes Chases’ point that immortality is a destination: “Immortality” is portrayed rather as an eternal state of mind: the verb “Feels” acts to represent the brain’s eternally active thoughts and movement with no true time limit—“Since then ‘tis centuries.” Consequently, a combination between Farland and Hoepfner’s interpretation is best supported by Dickinson’s poem: separation between the temporary life of the body and immortal soul is substantiated by the poem’s line and stanza structure, and the shift in the narrator’s tone supports “Immortality[‘s]” function as a cushion.

Please email me at if you would like the bibliography. I wrote this in December 2010 last year as an English assignment, but I thought I would post it for all to see.

Hope you found a new perspective,


The Ferris Wheel By Maddie G

Posted by Maddie on October 18, 2011 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

The Ferris Wheel

Mom said you could see Saturn from the zenith.

Dad said the ride makes you a man.

I can't speak to it—

…But I've been on carousels before.

The sun was setting behind him,

The rays gleamed out from his head at all angles

Like He walked out of the Renaissance:

Gioto's The Adoration of the Magi,

He stopped me and accepted my golden ticket.

Impossible, He said “You can only ride the Ferris Wheel

Once. Other kids want their turn too."

But I know he can ride whenever he wants.

He controls the buttons.

I ascend into the pastel sky,

Steady and restless

Energetic and unknowing,

I can see my entire childhood down there— I always looked up.

The cart in front of me seats two elders.

Each inch farther from the ground is one inch closer.

I'm waiting to reach the peak.

Where's Saturn?

I'm still looking up.

But then a voice: "Yo kid, I ain't got all day."

This was originally a flash poem. The Ferris Wheel received extensive edits, however the idea continues to be the foundation of the poem.



Flash Poetry? First Thought, Best Thought?

Posted by Maddie on October 1, 2011 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

"First Thought, Best Thought" by William DeresiewiczWilliam Deresiewicz teaches English at Yale University. He is working on a study of Jane Austen and the British Romantic poets.

These interviews with Allen Ginsberg remind us that he was a master of improvisation. 


What an irony ''Spontaneous Mind'' represents. Allen Ginsberg's uniquely frank and vivid voice, silent now these past four years, seems to sound again in its deftly edited pages. Yet if anyone knew the difference between printed text and living speech, it was the poet who made immediacy -- improvisation, bodily presence, a Buddhistic immersion in the passing moment -- the foundation of his art. Indeed, there's a wider irony at work, for with the death this year of Gregory Corso, the last of the movement's major figures, the Beat Generation has essentially become what it forever more will always only be: words on a page. Ginsberg's embrace of immediacy was the Beats' as a whole, was in fact the common denominator of the most vital currents in postwar American art -- Gillespie and Parker, de Kooning and Pollock, Cunningham and Cage: a risk-seeking, ecstatic spontaneity flung in the face of the cold war mentality. And as the mainstream tilted ever more toward media and mediation, the filtrations of the glass screen, the ethic of immediacy -- happenings, be-ins, protests, street theater; the million jam sessions and acid tests of the 60's -- became the Beats' great bequest to the counterculture they inspired. How alien it all seems, in this age of mediation's terminal triumph.


''Life should be ecstasy,'' Ginsberg says here, and poetry, he implies, should be life. His poetics was shaped by an adolescent encounter with Williams and Pound, their rejection of what he called the metronomic ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum of iambic pentameter for the flexible, complex rhythms of everyday speech. As informed by his later discovery of Buddhist meditation practice, this recognition led to the idea of poetry as breath, an emanation of the body as much as of the mind (one reason he gave, and attended, so many readings). Indeed, Buddhism taught him to eschew rationality in favor of ''ordinary'' or ''spontaneous'' mind, the vast sea of consciousness upon which our concepts and categories, anxieties and prohibitions, float like so much junk. Hence Ginsberg's compositional method, the moment-by-moment transcription of thoughts and images as they passed across his mind. (The thousand-odd lines of ''Kaddish'' poured forth in one 40-hour session.) ''First thought, best thought'' was his governing principle: no heed to the high-modernist idea of poem as patiently constructed artifact, but an equally strenuous discipline, for it was only with hours of daily meditation that he maintained his wide-open path from mind to breath.

All of which helps explain why the interviews collected here are so great. Ginsberg talking is like Charlie Parker taking his saxophone out for a spin at the far reaches of harmony and rhythm; reading him is the mental equivalent of being driven at top speed down a winding mountain road. Long lines of thought unspool in image after startling image, gradually weaving themselves into argumentative structures of stunning density, originality and depth. And like any great jazzman, Ginsberg displays a multitude of musical personalities: ecstatic bard, wrathful prophet, serene yogi, patient teacher, ironic Jewish stand-up comedian. For like any great performer, he reveals himself in full -- self-critically, self-mockingly, with all his shortcomings, kinks and contradictions.

The candor and passion are to be expected, but the stereotype of Ginsberg as a semiliterate primitive leaves one unprepared for his erudition and intellectual brilliance. A question about his youthful discovery of Cézanne elicits six long pages on the transcendental implications of the painter's ostensibly workmanlike notation of optical phenomena, and the relevance of those implications to Blake, haiku and the composition of ''Howl.'' Elsewhere, belying dismissals of the Beats as willfully ignorant of literary history, Ginsberg details the ways the movement placed itself within both American and modernist traditions, as well as within the mystical tradition that leads back through Gnosticism to the ancient mystery cults. Other passages remind us of the courage and prescience of the man who was proudly, publicly gay over a decade before the Stonewall uprising. We find him talking about global warming in 1968. Above all, we find him continually challenging settled ideas, especially his own. Yes, as a 1976 interview shows, he eventually questioned some attitudes of the 60's left, but the fact is that, as we see in a 1963 interview, he questioned many of them almost before there was a 60's left.

Much credit for the shapeliness of this collection is due to David Carter's editorial labors. Its 30 selections were chosen from among some 352 assembled transcripts, and while Ginsberg always insisted that his responses be published without line-by-line revision (of course), Carter's larger abridgments are both inconspicuous and cunning. Many encounters that probably petered out toward their close are concluded here on a memorable cadence or turn of wit. There is also remarkably little repetition; indeed, Carter, who is working on a history of Stonewall, contrives to have successive interviews fill in different parts of the same topic -- Ginsberg's early life or musical projects or ideas about drugs -- so that each of these pictures gradually takes shape over the course of the volume.

One overarching picture takes shape as well, that of Ginsberg's career as a public figure. The bulk of the collection dates from 1965-72, Ginsberg's years as countercultural symbol and spokesman: dialogues at demonstrations and on the road, transcripts from ''Firing Line'' and the Chicago Seven trial. One of the most interesting things about these encounters is how successful Ginsberg is at circumventing the logic of celebrity -- in other words, the very premise of the interview itself. Just as he never let himself get stuck in an intellectual position, neither did he allow himself to be trapped in an image. Each interviewer tries to elicit the Ginsberg of his or her imagination -- William F. Buckley Jr., the dangerous radical; Playboy, the homosexual crusader; fellow dropouts, the mocker of squares -- and each time, Ginsberg performs judo flips on their expectations, handing back complex, nuanced versions of the attitudes with which they've tried to saddle him. Indeed, he helps us appreciate the great difference between a celebrity and a public figure -- one the creation of the media, the other a full human character seeking to act within the public sphere -- as well as why we don't really have any of the latter anymore.


There may no longer be anyone in America like Allen Ginsberg, but America is not the same for his having been here. Readers of this collection may also find that they are no longer the same after having encountered him in its pages. His breath is stilled, his voice literally silenced, but the converse of Auden's dictum is also true: the guts of the living are modified by the words of the dead.

Some Poetry To Get Through Hurricane Irene

Posted by Maddie on August 27, 2011 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (1)

Do you live on the east coast? Are you stuck in your home or have evacuated? Well I'm glad you chose to log onto "Where Cheese Meets Poetry" for some entertainment.

Here are some of my favorite poems that I'll read over and over again and will definitely pass the time. I chose all my favorite poets!

1. Emily Dickinson: "239"


"Heaven"—is what I cannot reach!

The Apple on the Tree—

Provided it do hopeless—hang—

That—"Heaven" is—to Me!


The Color, on the Cruising Cloud—

The interdicted Land—

Behind the Hill—the House behind—

There—Paradise—is found!


Her teasing Purples—Afternoons—

The credulous—decoy—

Enamored—of the Conjuror—

That spurned us—Yesterday!

2. William Blake: "London"

I wander thro' each charter'd street,

Near where the charter'd Thames does flow,

And mark in every face I meet

Marks of weakness, marks of woe.


In every cry of every Man,

In every Infant's cry of fear,

In every voice, in every ban,

The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.


How the Chimney-sweeper's cry

Every black'ning Church appalls;

And the hapless Soldier's sigh

Runs in blood down Palace walls.


But most thro' midnight streets I hear

How the youthful Harlot's curse

Blasts the new born Infant's tear,

And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

William Carlos Williams: "A Celebration"

A middle-northern March, now as always--

gusts from the South broken against cold winds--

but from under, as if a slow hand lifted a tide,

it moves--not into April--into a second March,


the old skin of wind-clear scales dropping

upon the mold: this is the shadow projects the tree

upward causing the sun to shine in his sphere.


So we will put on our pink felt hat--new last year!

--newer this by virtue of brown eyes turning back

the seasons--and let us walk to the orchid-house,

see the flowers will take the prize tomorrow

at the Palace.

Stop here, these are our oleanders.

When they are in bloom--

You would waste words

It is clearer to me than if the pink

were on the branch. It would be a searching in

a colored cloud to reveal that which now, huskless,

shows the very reason for their being.


And these the orange-trees, in blossom--no need

to tell with this weight of perfume in the air.

If it were not so dark in this shed one could better

see the white.

It is that very perfume

has drawn the darkness down among the leaves.

Do I speak clearly enough?

It is this darkness reveals that which darkness alone

loosens and sets spinning on waxen wings--

not the touch of a finger-tip, not the motion

of a sigh. A too heavy sweetness proves

its own caretaker.

And here are the orchids!

Never having seen

such gaiety I will read these flowers for you:

This is an odd January, died--in Villon's time.

Snow, this is and this the stain of a violet

grew in that place the spring that foresaw its own doom.


And this, a certain July from Iceland:

a young woman of that place

breathed it toward the South. It took root there.

The color ran true but the plant is small.


This falling spray of snow-flakes is

a handful of dead Februaries

prayed into flower by Rafael Arevalo Martinez

of Guatemala.

Here's that old friend who

went by my side so many years: this full, fragile

head of veined lavender. Oh that April

that we first went with our stiff lusts

leaving the city behind, out to the green hill--

May, they said she was. A hand for all of us:

this branch of blue butterflies tied to this stem.


June is a yellow cup I'll not name; August

the over-heavy one. And here are--

russet and shiny, all but March. And March?

Ah, March--

Flowers are a tiresome pastime.

One has a wish to shake them from their pots

root and stem, for the sun to gnaw.


Walk out again into the cold and saunter home

to the fire. This day has blossomed long enough.

I have wiped out the red night and lit a blaze

instead which will at least warm our hands

and stir up the talk.

I think we have kept fair time.

Time is a green orchard.



Enjoy and stay safe!



Posted by Maddie on August 23, 2011 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (1)

Note: Skim down all the way to the bottom of this blog post for my poetry about two of my favorite Croatian cheeses.


Yesterday was the first time I had Croatian cheese. Have you ever heard of Paski Sir or Zigljen or Kozlar? I didn't until I received cheese samples from Simon Kerr of Paski Sir cheese who kindly shipped me 3 diffent cheeses.

Zigljen (the Croatian cheese company) sent me the following cheeses to sample. Ratings are in parenthesis:

1. Kozlar (Goat milk) 0

2. Paski Sir (ewe's milk) +1

3. Zigljen (mixed milk) +2 

Here are descriptions of the cheese from the company website:

Kozlar: Our goats are domestic to the Island of Pag as well as the straights of Kotar giving Kozlar a fruity and fresh taste.

Paski Sir: Produced exclusively from the milk of the autochthonous sheep on the Island of Pag, Paški Sir is the most awarded ewes’ milk cheese in all of Croatia. This cheese is a pure delight and displays quality in the making, leaving a long and pleasant aftertaste to savour. A yellowish creamy colour with farmhouse aromas, Sirana Gligora’s Paški Sir has well balanced texture, taste, aromas and finish and is delightfully tasty." Made from 100% ewes' milk.

Zigljen: Žigljen is a hard type cheese made from a delicate fusion of cow, sheep and goat milk from the Dalmatian region of Croatia. With an abundance of spring water in the region together with the rich minerals of the land, our Žigljen cheese is slightly spicy with a distinctive aroma.


As learned from Max McCalman, we should eat the cheeses with goat first and then sheep. I brought the three cheeses to Artisanal to share with all my cheese-loving friends!

My ratings for the following cheeses are based on the scale that Max uses to rate his cheese and wine combinations (which is the -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 scale in which -2 is strongly dislike, 0 = neutral, and +2 = love it and would definitely have it again and again) 

It might have been the goat's milk packaged in plastic, but the Kozlar tasted bland and the texture was spongy. It had a mild start and has a strong finish. 

As for the Paski Sir, which Max McCalman tried and really enjoyed, was tasty, and densely packed with flavor. The oil from the sheep's milk kept the cheese very flavorful. I really enjoyed the texture as well as a few others on the Artisanal crew. Fabulous!

Everyone's favorite of the three cheeses at Artisanal was the ewe's milk cheese, Zigljen. It tasted like our favorite parmesan! It was so tasty, with each bite better than the next. Seriously addicting! This is a must-try. 

Here is the website:

If you were to buy just one of these cheeses, the Zigljen is the best with Paski Sir close behind. Now for a poems to match these cheese with. 

Kozlar and The Sponges by Chuck Keller:

The poet's soul absorbs the world's beauty like a sponge.

Seeing, eating, living the tragic, the profound and the painful

until filled and dripping the excesses of being plunged

into the bucket of excrement that is man's insane and full

existence. And when the poet's soul has absorbed enough

beauty and sadness and pain and joy and love and scorn,

it is squeezed gently onto an empty page for a draft, still rough,

then nourished, edited and changed until, finally, a poem is born.

Paski Sir and Unknown Treasure by Maddie G

Unknown to many,

Celebrated by few.

A golden gem of Croatia.

A sliver of pure treasure

Found. Once introduced,

now a staple for all. 

Ziglijen and Scrumptuous by Maddie G

Zenith in every bite

I know the valleys lie in swallowing

Love at first bite.

Jamboree to your tongue

Enjoyed by everyone. 

Thank you so much Simon Kerr of Paski Sir cheese for introducing me to 3 new tasty cheeses! I hope you will all have the pleasure of trying the cheese for yourself!




Posted by Maddie on August 20, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)


To how do we know not to push any further—

The viewer decides the limit of the sea to sky

To where edges meet.

Rejected in waves,

Perpetual thunderbolts

To the chest.

Can't you look beyond

The piercing rays of sunlight – be

Blinded no more?

Like the boat to the sea,

Only used for scenery.

Or is the sea too clear

Too far too deep,

You make eye contact with yourself

In the mirror hanging

Behind me.

I notice, pretend to ignore.

Drowned to the pits

Of the wounded ocean

To rise again no more.


Facebook Members of "Poetry..."

Posted by Maddie on August 17, 2011 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Two members of the Facebook fanpage "Poetry..." asked me to post their poetry here. Let me know what you think of these poems below!

1. Edt my world by Alexander Okieff ( ;)

2. Untitled by Nick Ade' (reproduced below)

Secretly she loves me

sadly I don’t see.

To focused on the grass that’s green

Not hearing or seeing her when she calls me.

Secretly she cares but I’m a fool in love

With the girl of my dreams

but she really doesn’t deserve me

sadly i'm not realizing God put the girl

of my dreams in front of me.

I dream of fantasies even

When long ago God made my dreams a reality.

Secretly she thinks of me

but I’m too focused on another

girl that doesn't see.


Secretly she loves me

sadly I don’t see

because I’m too focused

on the grass that’s green.

Secretly she writes what she thinks of me

but she deletes her message

because I say there’s only one girl for me

And no one else can replace what she brings.

Secretly she screams please hold me

but I don’t understand what she needs.

Secretly she wants to be more than friends

and when she heard the girl of my dreams

said I was too nice and could only be friends

That's when she secretly said

I was all that she needs.

Sadly I don’t see.


Secretly she loves me

sadly I don’t see

because I’m too focused

on the grass that’s green.

Secretly she pleads for the day I hold her

but I’m on a living roller coaster

to afraid of the day the girl of

my dreams turns me away.

Secretly she cries from all the nights alone

But I’m like a dog without his bone

to focused on and zoned out from what is gone.

Secretly she is dying from my absence

But I am like an upperclassmen.

Skipping class when I should be taking notes

but I’m too close to the end to be

spending my time with freshmen.


Secretly she smiles when I dazzle

the girl of my dreams with poetry

but when she asks how you feel about me?

I reply what do you mean

you know there’s only one girl for me.

Secretly she loves me

sadly I don’t see

because I’m too focused

on the grass that’s green.


Once I gained the girl of my dreams

I realized the grass wasn’t so green

but when I looked back to see the girl of my reality

I found that she moved on to be another man’s dream…

#micropoetry #twitter #loveit @cheeseandpoetry

Posted by Maddie on August 16, 2011 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

After using twitter extensively now, I have found a love for #micropoetry. Twitter, micropoetry, tweeting, retweeting, and following... #loveit. I have been following many small farms all around the world, cheese mongers, small cheese stores, poets etc. 

After seeing that #micropoetry was trending, I thought I would write my own. 

For those of you who are missing out on #twitter, here is what #micropoetry is. It's a poem in 120 characters or less, which also includes the dashes, spaces, and slashes. 

Here is my first micro poem. 

Sleep on the subway / Dream in numbers / Let a thousand flowers bloom.

What do you think? Post your own micro poetry here in the comment section below, email me at OR TWEET IT TO @cheeseandpoetry. That would be most appropriate!


Cheese and Poem Matchup

Posted by Maddie on August 13, 2011 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Cheese and Poetry matchup (Aug 13):

Pierre Robert (double creme) & Because I Could Not Stop For Death by Emily Dickinson

Pierre Robert is a decadent triple-crème-style cheese from Seine-et-Marne. When Robert Rouzaire and his friend Pierre began to tire of their Brillat-Savarin, inspiration struck. They began aging the same triple-crème longer in their caves, enabling it to further develop its flavor and become even more meltingly rich in texture. They named their new success Pierre-Robert, for obvious reasons. With a whimsical boulder ("Pierre" means rock) adorning its snow-white rind, Pierre-Robert appeals to anyone craving pure and utter decadence. Buttery, smooth, and mild, this cheese ought to be eaten spread on bread or even graham crackers.

Because I Could Not Stop For Death by Emily Dickinson

Because I could not stop for Death,

He kindly stopped for me;

The carriage held but just ourselves

And Immortality.


We slowly drove, he knew no haste,

And I had put away

My labour, and my leisure too,

For his civility.


We passed the school where children played,

Their lessons scarcely done;

We passed the fields of gazing grain,

We passed the setting sun.


We paused before a house that seemed

A swelling of the ground;

The roof was scarcely visible,

The cornice but a mound.


Since then 'tis centuries; but each

Feels shorter than the day

I first surmised the horses' heads

Were toward eternity.

The name of Dickinson's poem in itself describes how I feel at Pierre Robert. Pierre Robert is possibly the most creamy cheese I've had in a long time (similar to the sheep and goat milk bries I had when I had to get my wisdom teeth removed). To simply describe the Pierre Robert, it is like stripping the cream off of cream cheese and mixing it with sheep milk brie. It can be considered as heart attack on a plate. The idea of someone who cannot stop for death makes us think about someone who is too busy living and enjoying life to worry about death. This cheese is amazing, very creamy, but that is what makes Pierre Robert so great. In summary, Pierre Robert is so tasty, you should not worry about the calories and fat it contains while eating it. Don't stop for death!



August Acrostic Poem: August

Posted by Maddie on August 5, 2011 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (1)

All the best things seem

Unappreciated, understated when that

Gust of wind you used an

Umbrella to 


Tingles your presence




Posted by Maddie on August 5, 2011 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Now that my summer program has ended, I will be posting much more often. Because August is national goat cheese month, let me list my eight fave goat cheeses (b/c august is the 8th month) Believe it or not, but the best goat cheeses tend to be domestic! Enjoy!

1.Bucheron (France)

2. Laurier (US)

3. Garrotxa (Spain)

4. Get-in-Stad (Netherlands)

5. Valencay (France)

6. Bijou (US)

7. Petite Mothais (France)

8.  Manchester (US)