In Billy Collins Taking Off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes, he explores and makes references to Dickinson’s work of to illuminate his own poem’s meaning. This intertwined combination of using her works within his own displays his admiration towards her meaningful writing. Dickinson describes “that Sabbath afternoon” functioning as another intimation of one of her poems, “Some Keep the Sabbath…” Collins intentionally sets up his poem to mimic both the structure, and also subtle words that Dickinson’s works inhibit to describe what he internally experiences when reading her poetry. Collins playfully incorporates the words “sudden dashes” as an allusion to her frequent grammatical dashes utilized in her works and in turn reveals how he interprets these “dashes” as an indication for a leap of thought when he is reading her poetry. It is evident that Collins poetry propensity to make allusions to Dickinson in this poem is a strategy to bring inherent tradition into his modern poetry.
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