Last night I saw the best play about Emily Dickinson I could imagine. It was a musical, and it was performed by fifth grade actors who brought this luminous ecstatic poet (“the Myth” as she was sometimes called) to life. It also brought to vivid life her bustling, growing Amherst (“the only thing silent in Amherst is the ‘h'”). Written by my brilliant playwright friend Judith Nielsen, music composed by a young and talented composer, Laura Reed, “The House of Emily D” is, fittingly, a play in verse.
It made me remember how much I love the surprising and mystical figures in ED’s verse. The play well portrayed her outwardly quiet and inwardly exciting life, the way she engaged with children as she couldn’t always with adults. Made me want to write more poems springing from her verses, like this from my book Gods of Water and Air.
Was like the other Days —
Until the Coronation came —
And then — ’twas Otherwise —