Although they are utterly dissimilar poets, Dickinson and Whitman made sunsets frequent subjects of their work. Dickinsonian sunset poetry attempts to imitate the natural phenomena and evokes tension and competition. A kind of closure is forced upon her unwilling speaker, who struggles against the inevitable ending of the day. In contrast, Whitmanian sunset poetry sings and celebrates the finale of the setting sun and delights in the cyclical nature of time. While Dickinson acknowledges the temporary quality of a single sunset, Whitman rejoices in their immortal occurrence. Both poets preserve the imagery of sunsets as photographers would, while imbuing them with intimate meanings.



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