In considering Emily Dickinson for The Big Read, I believe that we should not only review why we believe she is relevant, but also how her words are still relevant in today’s society and, particularly, to the young adults who will be subsequently studying her work in a classroom setting. Dickson’s poetry is powerful and related to inspiring people to reflect upon what they are capable of completing in this existence. In our own classroom discussions, we worried that perhaps poetry is less accessible to students or people whom are not as interested in poetry. To help transcend this barrier, I created a Twitter account for Emily Dickson and brief snips of her poetry in 140 characters or less.
This approach to Dickinson not only adds to her relevance in today’s society, but also makes her work more accessible and less intimidating to young adults. Young adults today are born into a technological era, making them increasingly more savvy with various forms of technology, but also becoming accustomed to briefer forms of writing as well as instant communication. By shortening Dickson’s poetry, but including powerful pieces of her words, I believe that students can find a connection to her words better. The shortness of the text and informal, but comfortable, mode of communication could be just what we need to entice young adults to research and read Dickinson’s work on their own.
How then is a Twitter site relevant to Dickinson herself? Dickinson may have only published a brief amount of her work while she was alive, but I think that a Twitter account may have appealed to her. While the instant publication of her words could be scary at first, many of her poems were simply brief lines scribbled on random pieces of paper, such as grocery lists or napkins, etc. Twitter would have provided her with a digitalized archive of these smaller forms of writing, and an outlet to share her words with the world, while still being able to remain physically removed from people.