Why Thoughts Are Better Than Music or Emily Dickinson's Fascicle 18 as a Lyric Sequence


Recently, an old argument concerning the existence of God has made a comeback: the "Argument from Design." Some scientists, physicists and biologists especially, have declared that the cosmos, from tiniest micro to uttermost macro, not only reveals a design, but one so complex as to be impossible by accident, hence entailing a designer. From perceived real design they infer an imperceptible ideal designer-God the Creator. Invert this and you have the position in which I find myself while studying Emily Dickinson's "fascicles" (a frankly ugly and pseudo-technical name for a beautiful phenomenon in poetry). The physical evidence of the sewn, unsewn and finally "resewn" fascicles, or packets of poems, strongly suggests a designer; and I have heard of no good reason not to assume ED herself as the designing woman. And so we hasten on to find the poetic evidence that will illuminate the structure and function of a design worthy of the great designer. Do we find it? Of course: because we want to.


Literature in English, North America