Thursday, June 16, 2016

Jerome Charyn - A Loaded Gun - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

We think we know Emily Dickinson: the Belle of Amherst, virginal, reclusive, and possibly mad. But in A Loaded Gun, Jerome Charyn introduces us to a different Emily Dickinson: the fierce, brilliant, and sexually charged poet who wrote:

My Life had stood—a Loaded Gun—

Though I than He— may longer live
He longer must—than I—
For I have but the power to kill,
Without—the power to die—

Through interviews with contemporary scholars, close readings of Dickinson’s correspondence and handwritten manuscripts, and a suggestive, newly discovered photograph that is purported to show Dickinson with her lover, Charyn’s literary sleuthing reveals the great poet in ways that have only been hinted at previously: as a woman who was deeply philosophical, intensely engaged with the world, attracted to members of both sexes, and able to write poetry that disturbs and delights us today.

My Review

This book is like so many of Dickinson's poems—enigmatic. Charyn shows how the Belle of Amherst followed wherever her creativity guided her, never knowing where she'd end up. Yet at the same time, he makes sure to illustrate how she maintained a tight-fisted control over the boundaries of her tiny world throughout the course of her life.

Dickinson carefully fashioned a safe, homelike environment for herself, without a husband, free from society, in order to give free rein to her thoughts, allowing them to run wild inside her head. What a fascinating portrait of such an artist Charyn paints with each brushstroke of words. I love how he throws out there that genius never really dies, but is simply reborn. He imagines how Shakespeare's talent lying that was dormant in the ground for hundreds of years somehow arises and is given new life in the vessel of a 19th century female. If he's right, then we're all better for it.

It makes me wonder who will be next to carry the torch. And thanks to Charyn's thought-provoking question, I can't wait to find out.


A Loaded Gun can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble
Bellevue Literary Press

Prices/Formats: $11.99 ebook, $19.95 paperback
Genre: Literary Criticism
Pages: 265
Release: March 15, 2016
Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press
ISBN: 9781934137987
Click to add to your Goodreads list.





CLICK HERE to read Excerpt One.

CLICK HERE to read Excerpt Two.


Reading Groups

CLICK HERE for a Reading Guide.

About the Author

Jerome Charyn was born and raised on the mean streets of the Bronx. He graduated cum laude from Columbia College. He has taught at Princeton, Columbia, Stanford, Rice, was Distinguished Visiting Professor at the City University of New York and is currently Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the American University of Paris. Charyn is a Guggenheim Fellow and has twice won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His stories and articles have appeared in The Atlantic, Paris Review, Esquire, American Scholar, New York Review of Books, New York Times, Ellery Queen and many other publications. Charyn's most recent books are The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, I Am Abraham and Bitter Bronx: Thirteen Stories. His latest book is A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century.

Links to connect with Jerome:
Web Site

Links to connect with A Loaded Gun:
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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