Emily Dickinson: “The Soul selects her own Society (303)” (c. 1862)

Emily Dickinson’s  poem “The Soul selects her own Society” came to mind because of a SF story by Connie Willis, and the novel “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886):
Along with Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson is considered one of America’s greatest poets with a lasting influence on poetry. Dickinson’s poems are unique, imaginative and enigmatic.

The SF story by Connie Willis is titled:
“The Soul Selects Her Own Society:
Invasion and Repulsion:
A Chronological Interpretation
Of Two of Emily
Dickinson’s Poems:
A Wellsian Perspective”

The SF story is a well-written parody on the analysis and interpretation of poems: poems of Emily Dickinson are discovered, apparently written after her death.  

(From Connie Willis: “The Winds of Marble Arch and Other Stories —  A Connie Willis compendium” (c) 2007).
Connie Willis writes SF stories that sparkle with wit, humor, eloquence. In 2011 she received The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America.

“Cloud Atlas” (c) 2004 by David Mitchell is a complex novel, with six narratives, of six different individual characters. Five of the characters are avatars of one soul. At its core, it is an exploration of human nature (“Atlas”), with its many variations (Clouds — different, ever changing).
David Mitchell’s novels have won or been short listed for many awards. His novel “Ghostwritten” (1999) won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. His novels, “number9dream ” (2001) and “Cloud Atlas” (2004), were shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. In 2007, Mitchell was listed among Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in The World.

Emily Dickinson, 1830 – 1886

The Soul selects her own Society (303)

The Soul selects her own Society —
Then — shuts the Door —
To her divine Majority —
Present no more —

Unmoved — she notes the Chariots — pausing —
At her low Gate —
Unmoved — an Emperor be kneeling
Upon her Mat —

I’ve known her — from an ample nation —
Choose One —
Then — close the Valves of her attention —
Like Stone —

Emily Dickinson, c. 1862

This poem is in the public domain.  (Date Published: 1890)
Source URL: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/soul-selects-her-own-society-303