Was Emily Dickinson an Aspie?


Emily Dickinson— who knew she was a hot chick?

There is a scene in the 1930 film ‘Freaks’ when some circus freaks welcome a ‘normal’ person to their midst by chanting “One of us, one of us, gooble-gabble, gooble, gabble, one of us!” And that is exactly what I feel like chanting whenever I hear that some famous or interesting person may have had Asperger’s Syndrome and/or autism spectrum disorder.

I’ve recently come across info that Emily Dickinson may have been ‘one of us, gooble-gabble,’ and it means a lot to me because I’ve only recently started to read Miss Dickinson’s poems in a Dover Thrift Edition. And they are not only good, they are better than good— they are weird. Here’s a sample:

“I heard a fly buzz when I died;
The stillness round my form
Was like the stillness in the air
Between the heaves of storm.”

That is just the sort of thing that makes Miss Dickinson into my new poetic role model. And when I went to Amazon.com just now to get the link (above) for the Dover Thrift Edition I already have the b-st-rds showed me a complete edition of Miss Dickinson’s work which I am now totally lusting after but can’t afford since I just ordered a second-hand book of Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s poems and I like his name because it has two ‘Yev’s in it so I had to buy it….

OK, where was I? Oh, Emily Dickinson, Aspie poet. I don’t know enough about her life to evaluate her status as Aspie or neurotypical, but I do like her work. Maybe you might, too. Or some friend of yours, newly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or Aspergers, might appreciate a copy of Emily’s poems as a gift. (See, I’m calling her Emily now, next thing I’ll be asking her to my house. Even though she’s dead.)

A lot of us modern poets are a bit afraid to get into poets from the age of rhyme and meter, but you will find many treasures there if you give it a chance. Because good writing is always worth a look.