My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Sunday, May 28

Emily Dickson & Julie Harris

Next week we’re going to see the only movie in town that looks promising, at least the only one I can find that isn’t directed at children or those adults who are mental midgets. It’s A Quiet Passion, about one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson. Cynthia Nixon is getting very good reviews for her portrayal of this enigmatic New England lady. I hope she’s as good as the other one who took on the challenge, Julie Harris in her one-woman Broadway show called The Belle of Amherst. When I was a young lad in 1955, living briefly in New York City, I went to see the movie version of Steinbeck’s East of Eden three or four times in a row. You might think I went that often to see James Dean doing his early James Dean thing. That may have been part of the reason, but it was really to see the young Julie Harris, just one of the many film stars with whom in my youth I fell in love.
Then in 1976, she gave us a television version of The Belle of Amherst, a Broadway performance for which she won a Tony. If you’ve never seen it, go to YouTube for a ninety minute treat. It’s a tour de force for Julie Harris similar to what Hal Holbrook did with Mark Twain in the Fifties and Sixties. I wish playwright William Luce hadn’t chosen to include one of Dickinson's worst poems, “I Shall Not Live in Vain.” It’s a poem that a number of literary critics say may not even have been written by Dickinson. One of her distinctive stylistic traits in her fascination with unusual words. “I Shall Not Live in Vain” is plain and amateurish, relying on false emotion not found anywhere else in her more than fifteen-hundred poems. See what you think:

If I can stop one Heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain
If I can ease one Life the Aching
Or cool one Pain
Or help one fainting Robin
Unto his Nest again
I shall not live in Vain.

This was supposedly written in 1864, the same year she wrote

Love— is anterior to Life—
Posterior—to Death—
Initial of Creation, and
The Exponent of Earth—

Now, I ask you, did the same poet write both poems and both in the same year? I doubt it. If you have never seen Belle, go to YouTube. As for A Quiet Passion, I’ll let you know how Miss Nixon did, see how she compares to the Julie Harris version of Emily Dickinson.
Post a Comment

Blog Archive

Any comments? Write me at