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The school of the air presents under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today's program. Once each year is on an August afternoon. This professor Dickinson's Hollis who had banged shut as the guests came in. It was the afternoon of the first college commencement and inside. Miss Emilee daughter of the house aged 40 unmarried would serve the beverage as she had the last time and the year before and before and before that he missed both coffee this year I think Miss Emily. Yes times are changing I would suppose. I do agree 1870 may well be an unusual year for us all.
You know they say in Boston later in the afternoon the tea of course was over the screen door banged for the last guest and the house was quiet. Miss Emily might start a poem that. Evening. Softly softly as an astral evening softly lit. As an astral. But if she didn't complete it then there was no hurry. Miss Emily had time. Of course during 1870 Miss Emily was still seen on her way through a visit or crossing the Hearst Tahrir Square Church.
That's Emily Dickinson. She lived here all her life for the street looking lady and she strains to dress she always wears white. But now it is time to which I hadn't thought of it. She's always on that kind of dress you know eccentric. Well I don't know I suppose she doesn't think too much of things like that. There were always the voices the eyes that watched her pass the tongues that imagine why she'd never marry another women love affair love affair just working you know tongue never wrong the fear do you miss the both a romantic affair quite proper but heartbreaking heartbreaking no less. Why do you suppose she keeps to herself to her house. Nobody really knew that but it was true that Miss Emily kept to the house or at least she kept close to the house. Every day I'm right over here I asked him
Don't trip over me. How can you ever plant so many flowers Emilie my dear brother. You must ask me that at least twice each week and I don't know how many years you've watched me do it. Of course I'm joking Emily of course so my I started early took my dog and visited the sea. The mermaids in the basement came out to look at me. Emily I don't believe you're ever serious with me. Then you weren't joking. You only want to do a bottle me up. I had no such but you look at me like you made me stop planting my Lily. Now if you don't say what you came across the lawn to say let me finish planting the poor flower is going to die and you were the murderer. Emily I realize that Susan you came to talk seriously about Susan. I realize you are angry and angry because Susan had printed my poem without my permission I know how important your poems are to you. You do force me to speak about the matter. Here's a little poem so painful it was
wrong of me Austen which you gave her to her and she is your sister in law and you are my brother. I. And my poem was not meant to be printed in the pages of the Springfield Republican thank you very much the same but you didn't give it to her. I did not give it. I learned it. I meant it to her so that she might read it whenever she wanted. And Hearst in those days Amherst Massachusetts was small. Usually everyone knew well a great deal about everyone else. Yep about Miss Emily dickens you read up on the take at the way my with you anybody you take. For God you.
Saw yet about Miss Emily who stayed in the brick house behind the hemlock hedges. I never saw. I never saw this yet. No I how the heather looks. And what a wave must be. I never spoke. Yet about Miss Emily Dickinson there was a mystery that people might not quite understand. A hundred other ladies might tender their garden and hardly ever leave their house. But I caved in only there would be a visitor. To Jackson. But if she never sees anyone that was Dickinson's friendly nothing you just said she doesn't visit doesn't have a visit to this one. Then I can't find out a thing. Maybe wait. We're going to ride right outta the
house before I ever find out what happened while I was gone. It's just it doesn't happen I can see enough alone in my house to Vinnie's there never sees anyone. I wish you'd tell me what it. Oh I don't suppose anything and none of my business. It's not as if I were a prying stranger. These people you're right why they'd like her in Europe. I don't suppose she's been up to three years ago maybe if you went to Boston so Europeans like good poetry. I don't think I ever heard the place for a poet is taken soon. Then I said to him Miss Dickinson if you please has talent is a poetess of the first Helen Jackson. That man didn't have any reason to know me well never mind about him anyway. I came to see you and here I
am 46 years old I believe in a good time to begin again. I told Thomas Niles about two nines is he some friend friend. Why he's the publisher of the no name Siri. Oh just oh. At Mount Holyoke as I recall we were taught to say oh very politely whenever we didn't know what else to say where. Say yes say yes to one to letting Niles publish your poetry publish it. Oh dear no. But you must have portfolios full of it all I know I never meant to have you think my dear Emily I assure you it's considered quite proper for a lady to have poems published to have her poems published of course. But even a writer a poet as I think you ought not to publish your very life experience now you must let me talk to you about this. You think me a to serious alone here no public I'd be stale in a month. It's not a matter of being overly serious it's well but that's the point.
You see I like it. I like my life itself and I have my friends. And it was true for many people receive Miss Emily's little notes perhaps a short poem. They were her friends. And others like Mr. Higgins and would receive her letters. Do you. When you wrote you would come in November. It would please me it were November and there would be a poem or lines perhaps 8 as if I asked a common use and in my wondering praying your prayers. As if I asked the audience and
then simply the closing lines of the letter. I hope you have reveries and perhaps you have spoken with George Eliot. Will you tell me about it when you come in November November. In 1880 Miss Emily was exactly half a century old. Fifty years of quietness in Amhurst village the people often said gifted that Miss Emily hardly left the house now even for Lily. That's not exactly a rise Emily. I wish. Vinnie hadn't bothered you doctor. I'm just then he ought to rest as far as I know that's been my whole life. Rys and I don't want you reading Emersons essays came just this noon. It's not very fair of you
is it. Do you think I've got no heart Emily. I'm old doctor. Either listen or you don't and if you don't if I don't you better take it to another doctor and if I only pretend to listen but really don't. And read Mr. Emerson any way you wouldn't even know I suppose. But you wouldn't. You know you wouldn't. So why don't we compromise. And I just read a little and not a bit more. You're not a man to spin me round your finger. Oh heaven forbid. You have a doctor. I want to look into for me Emily Dickinson. Well I suspect you're right. Maybe I will if I can only. I'm just so tired. So tired. So tired and who could know why the poems perhaps half a century of being frail Perhaps perhaps perhaps. My dear Mrs. Jackson perhaps it wasn't to be traced
before her recent death. Miss Emily Dickinson asked me to write and thank you for your kind read. In 1884 Miss Emily quietly die. Of course there were lilies for the occasion and of course the people in town had their tears. Then a month passed and a year. As could be expected life went on. And a very few people talked about Miss Emily. Very few until suddenly and 1890. Oh if you could it says in the paper. Miss Emily Dickinson who. We knew she wrote poems. It says here she was a poet. Imagine living right here. Yep she was gifted All right. A little queer. Yes it was hard for the people in hers to change their way of looking at Miss Emily.
But there was a whole book of her poetry a wonderful I always urged her why Emily are a few but who would have supposed so many. And Miss Dickinson is the most sensitive poet America has produced these past 50 years. And what would she have said to it herself within her house. Amidst the quietness beauty. But was scarce adjusted in the two when one died for truth. Was in an adjoining room. Questions. For beauty I replied and dive for truth. The one we brethren are he said. And so between the US had reached us and covered up our names.
Heard in today's program where Imus who Phelps Ruth lost Billy parado Dick said of Tom cater lower uncocking and his old Brando friend whereas in Harold's wants and where our studio engineers why is a writer is written by Floyd Horowitz and directed by Larry Wall coffee this is Dave Carter speaking this has been another program in the series why is a writer produced by WSU wise Iowa School of the air under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center and is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the Radio Network.
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Why is a writer?
The frail lady
Producing Organization
University of Iowa
WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on American poet Emily Dickinson.
Series Description
Produced by the Iowa School of the Air, this series focuses on various works of literature from Shakespeare to Twain.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Actor: Stribling, Don
Actor: Setterberg, Dick
Actor: Keeler, Tom
Actor: Phelps, Emma Sue
Announcer: Carter, Dave
Director: Walcoff, Larry
Producing Organization: University of Iowa
Producing Organization: WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Writer: Horowitz, Floyd
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: S60-6-8 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:30?
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Chicago: “Why is a writer?; The frail lady,” 1960-11-18, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024,
MLA: “Why is a writer?; The frail lady.” 1960-11-18. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <>.
APA: Why is a writer?; The frail lady. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from