Episode 123: Dickinsonian Opposites

Forever is composed of nows.
— Emily Dickinson
I dwell in possibility.
— Emily Dickinson
Success is counted sweetest by those who never succeed.
— Emily Dickinson
I’m nobody, who are you?
— Emily Dickinson

We often choose our words because of their meanings, whether personal or mutually agreed upon. But in language, we also elect to use certain terms or phrases to directly oppose arguments, ideas or speakers themselves. This week, Spencer Huffman joins us to examine and recreate a poetry class assignment which confronted opposites as they relate to the poetry of Emily Dickinson. How does the concept of "opposites" become more complex and cumbersome as words become phrases and systemic ideas? How might our adherence to black-and-white opposing structures of thought lead us to reduce larger ideas and erase nuance? Does the concept have the power to create opposition within otherwise similar and cooperative groups of people?

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