~ Filmmaker: Sophie Blackall ~

Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Amanda Palmer reads Edna St. Vincent Millay in this animation by the award-winning children’s book author and artist Sophie Blackall, with music by Tom McRae. It’s last month’s installment for the wonderful Universe in Verse series, which we’ve been kind of sleeping on here. Maria Popova notes in her introduction to the series on her website that

The Universe in Verse was born in 2017 as a charitable celebration of the wonder of reality through stories of science winged with poetry — part resistance (to the assault on science and the natural world in an atmosphere of “alternative facts” and vanishing ecological protections) and part persistence (in sustaining the felicitous expression of nature in human nature, with our capacity for music and mathematics, for art and hope.)

For four seasons (below, in reverse chronology), it remained a live gathering — thousands of embodied universes of thought and feeling, huddled together in a finite space built in a faraway time when Whitman’s living atoms walked the streets outside.

In this interlude between gatherings, as we face the biological and ecological realities of life with widened eyes, I have entwined visions with my friends at On Being to reimagine the spirit of The Universe in Verse in a different incarnation, a year in the making: a season of stories about epoch-making events, discoveries, and unsung heroes from the history of science — this common record of our search for truth and the native beauty of reality — each illustrated in poetry’s lovely abstract language, with an animated poem.

Be sure to read the rest and check out all the films. We’ll share more of them here as time permits. I also strongly recommend Popova’s essay introducing “Dirge Without Music,” which for its “unsung hero” presents an engaging account of mathematician Emmy Noether (1882–1935). A stanza from Millay’s poem was read at her funeral.