An Annotation of Emily Dickinson's I Taste A Liquor Never Brewed

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An Annotation of Emily Dickinson's I Taste A Liquor Never Brewed

This poem by Emily Dickinson is much harder to figure out compared to her usual poems. She writes about a topic that is not normally written about at this time especially by a woman. At first glance, it is thought that this poem is about liquor and all of the bad things that go along with it, when in all reality it is a poem about sheer happiness. Dickinson is speaking not of a high derived from any alcoholic beverage, but rather of one acquired from life itself.

I taste a liquor never brewed (214)
Emily Dickinson

I taste a liquor never brewed--
From tankards scooped in Pearl--
Not all the Vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an Alcohol!
Inebriate of Air--am I--
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In the third and forth line she goes on to describe the vastness that this "drink" gives to her. She uses the reference to the vats upon the Rhine to indicate this vastness. The Rhine Valley is a city in Germany that is Europe's northernmost wine producing region. They used to store the majority of the wine that they produced in big barrels that were known as vats. Dickinson is trying to say here that even though some of the world's best alcohol is produced and stored here it doesn't even compare to the magnificence that life beholds.

The second stanza starts to move in quite a different direction. Dickinson now is referring to how she gets "drunk" off of simple pleasures in life such as air and dew. These things excite and exhilarate her to make her feel as if she is drunk. The mention of "Reeling &endash; thro endless summer days," is another example of how the natural things in life such as a bright summer day can really enliven her to the point of feeling intoxicated.

Dickinson starts to take a different approach in the third stanza by showing how every being has their own unique "drink" that gets them drunk. She says, that the bees are drunk off of the "Foxgloves," which are flowers that they get satisfied from. She also talks about the butterflies and how their "alcohol" is the "drams" that they drink. Although these are all ways that other animals get "drunk" off life
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