Emily Dickinson Lives!

Yesterday, thanks to the work of our school librarian, we had a special poetic visitor arriving from the Great Beyond. An actress who performs as Emily Dickinson (who lived in nearby Amherst) spent time with my students yesterday morning, talking and acting as if she were Emily Dickinson. She talked of her life and of her writing, and while it is hard to keep sixth graders in Spring in their chairs for (for them) an obscure poet, they were mostly attentive.

My student teacher is doing her unit around poetry (ack, I really miss teaching poetry this year), so the timing was right. As the librarian and I agreed, our kids need a variety of styles of performances (we had Mordicai Gerstein not too long ago and he was drawing, and laughing, and energetic with them).

And plus, who better to bring back from the dead than Emily Dickinson?

I’ve always like this poem of hers:

AFTER a hundred years
Nobody knows the place,—
Agony, that enacted there,
Motionless as peace.
Weeds triumphant ranged, 5
Strangers strolled and spelled
At the lone orthography
Of the elder dead.
Winds of summer fields
Recollect the way,— 10
Instinct picking up the key
Dropped by memory.

Peace (in the poems),

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