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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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.From School Library Journal:
Grade 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
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