Momentary Stays, Exploding Forces: A Cognitive Linguistic Approach to the Poetics of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost
Journal of English Linguistics, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 73-90, 2002
16 Pages Posted: 7 May 2009
Date Written: May 6, 2009
In this paper, I explore how a cognitive linguistic approach can help to identify, and articulate a poet’s poetics and thus contribute to an explanatory account that distinguishes one poet’s poetics from another. I have chosen as my examples the poetry of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson because the former is considered to have a very clear poetics and the latter not. I show that in fact Dickinson does have a clearly defined if subtle poetics, and that it is very different from Frost’s. Whereas Frost's poetics is structured by the image schemas of PATH and BALANCE, Dickinson's poetics is structured by the image schemas of CONTAINER and CHANGE. First I outline Frost’s and Dickinson’s theories of poetry with some examples and then compare two poems that reveal the distinction between their poetics.
Keywords: poetics, cognitive linguistics, image schemas, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson
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