I Heard a Fly b u z z

Okay, before I get in trouble for wilfully butchering Emily Dickinson, here is today’s NaPoWriMo prompt:

Today’s prompt (optional, as always) is a variation on a teaching exercise that the poet Anne Boyer uses with students studying the work of Emily Dickinson. As you may know, although Dickinson is now considered one of the most original and finest poets the United States has produced, she was not recognized in her own time. One reason her poems took a while to gain a favorable reception is their slippery, dash-filled lines. Those dashes baffled her readers so much that the 1924 edition of her complete poems replaced some with commas, and did away with others completely. Today’s exercise asks you to do something similar, but in the interests of creativity, rather than ill-conceived “correction.” Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it! (Not sure where to find some Dickinson poems?  Here’s 59 Dickinson poems to select from).

I enjoy messing around with structures, but I’ll admit I may have gone a bit over the top with this one! Anyway, it was fun!


I Heard a Fly b u z z 

(From I heard a Fly buzz – when I died – (591) BY EMILY DICKINSON)

I heard a fly buzz when I died. 
The stillness 
                   in the room was like 
the stillness 
                    in the air between 
the h
        e
         a
          v
           e
            s of storm. The eyes around 
had w r u n g them dry, and their breaths were 
gatheringfirm for that final 
onset when the    King    be witnessed 
in the room. I willed my keepsakes, 
signed        away what portion of me 
be assignable, and then it 
was there [interposed]: A fly with 
        ¿blue, 
                              uncertain, 
                stumbling 
                                           buzz?
between the light and me.

And then 

the windows failed, 
(and then I could not see to see.)
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