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Wider Than the Sky

Essays and Meditations on the Healing Power of Emily Dickinson

Barbara Dana Cindy MacKenzie

160 pages
The Kent State University Press
A revealing perspective on how Emily Dickinson helps readers cope with suffering

Emily Dickinson is known as a poet who presses at the limits of perception and expresses in brilliantly compact, memorable language extremes of both anguish and ecstasy. Her frequent attention to pain and death, like her reclusive tendencies, has led many to dismiss her as “morbid.” Biographers and critics, however, have shown how she used her writing and her own acquaintance with pain to reach out consolingly to sufferers. In a widely varied collection of personal reminiscences, tributes, and scholarly essays, editors Cindy MacKenzie and Barbara Dana offer richly revealing perspectives on how the exquisite language in the poems and letters of Emily Dickinson helps readers cope with suffering.

The essays featured in Wider than the Sky range from fresh scholarly analyses to highly personal essays and meditations, each offering thoughts on the emotional, spiritual, and physical healing power gained from reading Dickinson. MacKenzie and Dana invite readers to reflect on how we respond to poems, how they enter into the core of our consciousness, and how we draw strength from what Dickinson called “the Art of Peace.” Wider than the Sky, a resource for Dickinson fans as well as anyone coping with pain, is an important addition to the Literature and Medicine Series.

Author Bio
Cindy MacKenzie teaches English at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. She is best known for her compilation A Concordance to the Letters of Emily Dickinson (2000). She has also published articles on Dickinson in the Emily Dickinson Bulletin and Emily Dickinson Journal. Her passionate interest in Dickinson has taken her to conferences in the United States, Europe, and Japan as an active participant and, presently, as a board member of the Emily Dickinson International Society and of the American Literature Association.

Barbara Dana, an actor as well as an author, was born in New York City. She is an award-winning author of novels for children and young adults. Her first play, War in Paramus, had its premiere production in New York City in the fall of 2005. She has appeared often on television and in many films and plays. She is working on a novel based on the young life of Emily Dickinson.