This essay draws on the example of Emily Dickinson's experiments with meter and line to review the multiple valences that attach to precariousness, a term that is sometimes synonymous with précarité and the casualization of labor but that also carries a less negatively charged sense of flexibility, provisionality, and dependence on the morrow. It examines the irony whereby contemporary capitalism's reliance on stored energies not only has produced crises of insecurity unprecedented in scale but also threatens this other kind of precariousness, eliminating both the risk and the pleasure of proximate dependence.
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Issue Section:Special Focus: Emergent Precarities and Lateral Aesthetics