The movie starts with the teen-aged Emily (played by Emma Bell) repudiating, with a calm and steadfast insolence, the pieties of her Christian boarding school. Her father, Edward (played with a loftily ironic, quietly domineering tolerance by Keith Carradine), is a moderate freethinker who accepts and even cherishes Emily’s independent mind. He welcomes her back home from school, lightly disdaining the reproaches of stiff-necked relatives, even as young Emily radically outpaces his liberal purview. When his strong-minded daughter wants to stay up at night to write poetry, between three in the morning and dawn, he gives her leave to do so, and thus begins the life of the artist.
In 1971, a postage stamp was issued in honor of Dickinson; the portrait derives from the one existing daguerrotype of her, with straight, center-parted hair, eyes staring somewhere beyond the camera, hands poised around a nosegay of flowers, in correct 19th-century style. On the first-day-of-issue envelope sent me by a friend there is, besides the postage stamp, an engraving of the poet as popular fancy has preferred her, in a white lace ruff and with hair as bouffant as if she had just stepped from a Boston beauty-parlor. The poem chosen to represent her work to the American public is engraved, alongside a dew-gemmed rose, below the portrait:
She expressed all this in a poem she writes called “Crumbling in not an instant’s Act”.
This poem’s tells how crumbling does not happen immediately, but in a gradual process occurring slowly over time.
These two poems are about possession, and they seem to me a poet’s poems—that is, they are about the poet’s relationship to her own power, which is exteriorized in masculine form, much as masculine poets have invoked the female Muse. In writing at all—particularly an unorthodox and original poetry like Dickinson’s—women have often felt in danger of losing their status as women. And this status has always been defined in terms of relationship to men—as daughter, sister, bride, wife, mother, mistress, Muse. Since the most powerful figures in patriarchal culture have been men, it seems natural that Dickinson would assign a masculine gender to that in herself which did not fit in with the conventional ideology of womanliness. To recognize and acknowledge our own interior power has always been a patch mined with risks for women; to acknowledge that power and commit oneself to it as Emily Dickinson did was an immense decision.
Even though she looked inner and not to the war for the material in her poetry, the tense atmosphere of the war years may have contributed a lot to her writings.
The poetry of extreme states, the poetry of danger, can allow its readers to go further in our own awareness, take risks we might not have dared; it says, at least: “Someone has been here before.”
A one page summary of Dickinson's biography, themes, techniques, and questions about selected poems, from Prof. Mark Canada. Academic web site.
Western Massachusetts: the Connecticut Valley: a countryside still full of reverberations: scene of Indian uprisings, religious revivals, spiritual confrontations, the blazing-up of the lunatic fringe of the Puritan coal. How peaceful and how threatened it looks from Route 91, hills gently curled above the plain, the tobacco-barns standing in fields sheltered with white gauze from the sun, and the sudden urban sprawl: ARCO, McDonald’s, shopping plazas. The country that broke the heart of Jonathan Edwards, that enclosed the genius of Emily Dickinson. It lies calmly in the light of May, cloudy skies breaking into warm sunshine, light-green of spring softening the hills, dogwood and wild fruit-trees blossoming in the hollows.
Information about The Emily Dickinson Museum, which includes The Homestead, where Emily Dickinson lived most of her life, and The Evergreens, home of her brother and his family, located in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Prof. Donna Campbell tackles Emily Dickinson FAQs, including what kind of meter she wrote in, why she used the dash, and how one should read Dickinson. Academic web site.
Davies films his literary script with a directorial daring that’s both precise and free, blending delicately composed close-ups and group portraits with audaciously confrontational and uninhibited visual imagination, involving three-hundred-and-sixty-degree pans and haunting special effects (including a jolting documentary interlude regarding the Civil War). He also makes exemplary use of Dickinson’s poetry, recited by Nixon, on the soundtrack, playing like a sort of music that meshes with the actual music track, which is dominated by well-chosen touches of further New England audacity, such as Charles Ives’s “.”
Susan was Emily's personal critic; as long as Emily was writing she asked Susan to look her poems over.
Emily Dickinson was affected by her life for several reasons.
Reader's Guide includes an introduction to Emily Dickinson, a biography, background and her historical context, bibliography, and discussion questions. Teacher's Guide contains lesson plans and writing topics. National Endowment for the Arts.
And so they deliberately wentabout creating literature, essays, novels, philosophy, poetry, and other writingthat were clearly different from anything from England, France, Germany, or anyother European nation.