Never Judge "A Book" by Its Cover

| | Comments (0)

The poem "A Book" by Emily Dickinson is a perfect representation of Hamilton's definition of Lyric Poetry.  Hamilton writes in Essential Literary Terms, "Lyric poetry, the most varied and widespread kind, is that in which an individual speaker expresses what he or she feels, perceives, and thinks." This poem does this perfectly.  Dickinson speaks of her own opinions of books.  At first glance it may seem as though she thinks a book is a wonderful transport to other lands; however we must remember the adage Never judge a book by its cover.  Here, however, her word choice indicates that she thinks that books are less superior than true poetry.  She uses the words "frigate," "prancing poetry," "poorest," and "frugal" instead of more admiring words.  I know if I wanted to voice my positive opinion of books I would not use words with such negative connotations.   However, Dickinson is able to take a perfectly normal possession and, using imagery and metaphor, is able to bring it to life. 

 Another characteristic of a poem according to Jon Stallworthy in The Norton Anthology of Poetry is that poetry is written to be read aloud.  Poems use meter and rhyme to convey its message.  It is obvious upon a first reading aloud of any of Emily Dickinson's poems that she has a clear style that conveys this characteristic perfectly.


Click here to view more comments on Hamilton


Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.