Review of “The Largest Fire Ever Known” (1865)


Emily Dickinson (writer).

Read in 2021.

I’ve seen interpretations of this as being about daylight (does not occur in the afternoon), the burning of garbarge (is not the largest fire; does not happen every day; does not consume the town but is a product of the town’s consumption), or Dickinson’s writing process (also does not consume the town, except perhaps in distracting Dickinson from thinking about the town). None of them really work and their superpositions don’t seem clever, but there is still a pure language-level pleasure in the poem.

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