Tuesday Poem: Halloween with Emily Dickinson

It's Halloween in Italy - a Festa they celebrate well, since it coincides with All Souls Day, when everyone visits the family graves and places flowers on them and remembers the dead.  In South America tomorrow is called the Day of the Dead.

Looking around for a suitable poem, I thought of Emily Dickinson's 'One Need not be a Chamber to be Haunted' and then found this strange video of the poem.  Emily Dickinson's portrait has been animated so that it seems as if the poet herself is reading the words.

I love the poem because it works on so many levels - not least because it talks about the 'haunting'  of the creative imagination. We all function on 2 levels - the conscious and the unconscious.  The unconscious is the basement - we take the lift down, it’s a bit dark and murky - most definitely haunted -  and most people don’t want to linger there for long, but if you want to create - that’s where you have to be.  Margaret Atwood in her essays about writing 'Negotiating with the Dead', says that the act of writing is the business of going down into the underworld and making ‘something or someone’ that is dead alive again. 

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  1. This was so apt - both the poem itself and this eerie movement of a dead poet's mouth. Loved it, thanks!

  2. So especially eerie to hear and see Emily Dickinson reciting--gave me the chills. Thanks for finding it.

  3. The speaking portrait is definitely a curious effect, but the poem compelling nonetheless.

  4. I don't know who does the animation, but it was eerily good!


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