Emily Dickinson and R.E.M.

“It Beckons, and It Baffles—”: Resurrecting Emily Dickinson (and Poetry) in the Student-Centered ClassroomEnglish Journal (March 1998), P. L. Thomas

Adrienne Rich “Vesuvius at Home: The Power of Emily Dickinson” (1984)

Harold Bloom’s The Western Canon (1994)

Judith Farr The Passion of Emily Dickinson (1992)

Emily Dickinson at Poetry Foundation

Emily Dickinson at Poets.org

Dickinson poems:

“This World is not Conclusion” (501)

“Wild Nights—Wild Nights!” (249)

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers” (254)


“Low Desert”

New Adventures In Hi-Fi

(official lyrics, published in Winter ’98 issue of “Double Take”)

it happened fast, it’s over quick.
a little dust and the engine kicks.
did your hands drift down off the wheel?
a roadowl hit your windshield?
an eyelash or a little bit of sleep?
did time stand still?
Just call it. now, and you’re on your way.

hey hey

all the ashtrays cities and the freeway drives
broken casinos and waterslides
the 18 wheeler and the payback dives
gravity pulls on the powerlines.
a jetstream cuts the desert sky,
this land could eat a man alive.
let’s say you’d leave it all behind.

hey hey

“tricked again.” let go.

there’s a radio tower, it’s egging you on.
back to the place where you never belonged.
where the people thrive on their own contempt.
whatever meaning is long gone spent.
if you had to guess or make bet,
would you place yourself inside of it?
the mountains yawn. the clouds let out a sigh.
“tricked again.” let go. okay.

hey hey

Applicable copyright is implicit (Copyright © R.E.M./Athens Ltd. for all R.E.M. originals).
These lyrics are official only when stated and in other cases represent a collaborative interpretation by fans.



About plthomasedd

P. L. Thomas, Professor of Education (Furman University, Greenville SC), taught high school English in rural South Carolina before moving to teacher education. He is a former column editor/co-editor for English Journal (National Council of Teachers of English) and series editor for Critical Literacy Teaching Series: Challenging Authors and Genres (Brill/Sense Publishers), in which he authored/edited several volumes. He has served on major committees with NCTE, and has been named Council Historian (2013-2015), and formerly served as co-editor for The South Carolina English Teacher for SCCTE. Recent books include Critical Media Literacy and Fake News in Post-Truth America (Brill, 2018) and Trumplandia: Unmasking Post-Truth America (Garn, 2017). He has also published books on Barbara Kingsolver, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Haruki Murakami. His scholarly work includes dozens of works in major journals—English Journal, English Education, Souls, Notes on American Literature, Journal of Educational Controversy, Journal of Teaching Writing, and others. His commentaries have been included in Room for Debate (The New York Times), The Answer Sheet (Washington Post), The Guardian (UK), Truthout, Education Week, The State (Columbia, SC), The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, NC), The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) and The Greenville News (Greenville, SC). His work can be followed at radical eyes for equity (http://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/) and @plthomasEdD on Twitter.

One response to “Emily Dickinson and R.E.M.”

  1. mrshoward118 says :

    One of my favorite music/poetry connections is Viva La Vida (Coldplay) and Ozymandias (Shelley). Thank you for your ideas!

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