i couldn’t agree more.
Dickinson of course has no heirs or heiresses. In the minuteness of their perceptions and the precision of their images one might think of Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, the early Anne Sexton, and, certainly, Sylvia Plath, but so far as the development of American poetry is concerned, Emily Dickinson really leads nowhere since she herself is the highest embodiment of the experimental method she developed. Genius of her kind is simply inimitable. In this too Dickinson is Whitman’s opposite: Whitman’s heirs are ubiquitous. Whitman transformed American poetry forever, Dickinson sets an aesthetic standard no other poet dares approach. She is perfection, an end stop, as perhaps she anticipated: “Nobody!” as the emblem of the absolutely inviolable, incomparable self.
( joyce carol oates wrote that in 1987 )