My Letter to the World and Other Poems

Overview

Visions in Poetry is an innovative and award-winning series of classic poems reinterpreted for today's readers by outstanding contemporary artists in distinctively beautiful editions. This is My Letter to the World and Other Poems by Emily Dickinson is brilliantly illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. The artist's interpretation displays a rich understanding of Dickinson's poetry, which is known for its economy, unexpected imagery and hauntingly personal point of view. Arsenault has created a subtle meditation on ...
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Overview

Visions in Poetry is an innovative and award-winning series of classic poems reinterpreted for today's readers by outstanding contemporary artists in distinctively beautiful editions. This is My Letter to the World and Other Poems by Emily Dickinson is brilliantly illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. The artist's interpretation displays a rich understanding of Dickinson's poetry, which is known for its economy, unexpected imagery and hauntingly personal point of view. Arsenault has created a subtle meditation on Dickinson's life and its intersection with her verse. In the dream-like illustrations, the poet -- sometimes serene, often sad and always enigmatic -- is an omnipresent figure in her ghostly white dress. Dickinson's "letters," the words she left to the world, have found their ideal visual complement.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Kids Can Press’ valuable "Visions in Poetry" series is an elegant introduction to the work ... I was struck by the power of Isabelle Arsenault’s haunting and expressive visual interpretations

Kids Can Press’ valuable "Visions in Poetry" series is an elegant introduction to the work ... I was struck by the power of Isabelle Arsenault’s haunting and expressive visual interpretations

Arsenault’s masterful mixed media illustrations reflect the book’s mood.

Arsenault’s masterful mixed media illustrations reflect the book’s mood.

Sara London
…an elegant introduction to the work of that mysterious belle of Amherst…While rereading Dickinson's riddle-like lines, I was struck by the power of Isabelle Arsenault's haunting and expressive visual interpretations. Her delicate color-washed drawings of a ghostlike Emily in her white dress, of doleful trees and marching ladies' boots, depict a dreamlike 19th-century otherworld. Yet for all the muted tones (there's plenty of black and gray), Arsenault avoids the dreary. Amid the shadows there's lightness and humor to be found
—The New York Times
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Six of Dickinson's better-known poems are included here, elegantly printed for easy reading and contemplation, in a handsomely bound volume of the "Visions in Poetry" series. In addition to the title poem, "I am Nobody! Who are you?" and "‘Hope' is the thing with feathers" are among those inside. Arsenault combines sensitive line drawings with emotion-packed watercolors, frequent black washes or off-white strokes that seem only to graze the papers' surfaces. They are naturalistic while still being expressive of the poet's time and place. Several portraits emphasize pensive attitudes, like looking into some spiritual world "just past the Door ajar." One reflects a frequently seen photograph of the poet. Another shows Death's hand stretching from a carriage window, for "Because I could not stoop for Death—", but there is little attempt to illustrate the lines of poetry in a literal sense. Rather the images constitute an accompaniment that, like the music of a song, creates ranges of emotion that help interpret the lyrics while enhancing meaning. There are extensive additional notes on the poet's life and work, and about the illustrator and the motifs and images in the pictures. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up

Of the many collections of Dickinson's poetry available for young people, this one is unique in that most of the selections deal with death and loss. The first poem, "There's a Certain Slant of Light," sets the tone for the volume. "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" and "I Felt a Funeral in My Brain" continue the melancholy theme. The poems all run together and are printed without titles, making it difficult for readers unfamiliar with Dickinson's work to know where one selection ends and another begins. As a result, the impact of each poem is somewhat obscured. Arsenault's masterful mixed-media illustrations reflect the book's mood. The angular and shadowy pictures are either black and white or black on sepia, with only an occasional hint of color. A representation of Dickinson, in her characteristic white dress with her hair pulled back in a severe knot, haunts nearly every page. Because of its mature theme, this volume will interest older teens, and it could be seen as a balance for other collections that ignore Dickinson's fascination with death. Jeanette Winter's picture book Emily Dickinson's Letters to the World (Farrar, 2002) is lighter in mood and more likely to appeal to younger children.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT

Kirkus Reviews
This slender volume offers seven of Dickinson's haunting, ethereal and sometimes morbid poems, accompanied by Arsenault's appropriately delicate, intriguing mixed-media illustrations. The poems include some of Dickinson's best known, including "Judge Tenderly of Me" and "A Certain Slant of Light." Because Dickinson did not title her poems and used erratic punctuation, often ending lines and poems with just a dash, those not familiar with her work may have a hard time deciphering where one poem ends and another begins, and the design offers few visual cues. The style of illustrations, while lovely-half- and full-page spreads rendered mostly in black, white and gray, with occasional striking splashes of color-does not significantly vary from one poem to the next. Observant readers may notice that the first word of each poem is in a different typeface, but since that same typeface appears in other places, the signal is not completely clear. Teen Dickinson fans will enjoy this volume, but it is unlikely to make her poetry truly accessible to novices. (Poetry. 12 & up)
New York Times
Kids Can Press’ valuable "Visions in Poetry" series is an elegant introduction to the work ... I was struck by the power of Isabelle Arsenault’s haunting and expressive visual interpretations
CM Magazine
... a true gem. ... makes a wonderful addition to any collection of quality literature. Be sure to add it to your own collection.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554533398
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Series: Visions in Poetry Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 1,001,174
  • Age range: 10 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Isabelle Arsenault has illustrated several children's books, including Spork, My Letter to the World and Other Poems and Mr. Gaugin's Heart. She has received many awards for her work, including the Governor General's Award for Illustration. She lives in Montreal, Quebec.
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