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Surprised by ‘A Quiet Passion’

April 19, 2017

I was recently surprised  to hear of the film ‘A Quiet Passion’ which portrays the life of 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson, one of my personal favourites.

Although the film was scheduled for release in the UK in September 2016 it was being reviewed by Mark Kermode when I happened to switch the TV on the other night.

This was the first I had heard of the film, but the timing was serendipitous as I had only just finished rereading my copy of The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson produced by The Wordsworth Poetry Library.

The poems are collected into four ‘books’ on the themes of Life, Love, Nature, Time and Eternity from which come the lines: ‘The world is not conclusion, a sequel stands beyond…’

Very few of the poems were published during her lifetime. In many ways Dickinson was a poet before her time and her work only gained recognition after her death.

One can only hope that in the world beyond she was able to return to the more vivacious, outgoing version of herself as shown by director Terence Davies rather than the reclusive person that she became in later life.

I leave you to ponder what she has to say about a book:

There is no frigate like a book                                                                                                               To take us lands away.                                                                                                                     Nor any coursers like a page                                                                                                                 Of prancing poetry.                                                                                                                                  This traverse may the poorest take                                                                                                     Without oppress of toll;                                                                                                                          How frugal is the chariot                                                                                                                      That bears a human soul!

n.b. The unusual placement of the lines is computer generated and something that I seem unable to alter. It does however create an interesting new layout for the original words.


From → Poetry

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