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D’Youville Professor’s Research Inspires Film

D’Youville Professor’s Research Inspires Film

Buffalo, New York – February 23, 2017 – The work of Dr. Marta Werner, professor of English at D’Youville College, was a major inspiration for the upcoming documentary film “This Is My Letter to the World” that hopes to unravel the enigma of American poet Emily Dickinson.

Dr. Werner is an internationally-known authority on the works of the poet with her research focusing on manuscript studies. A significant number of her papers have been published including a book she co-edited, “The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems,” which heavily influenced the film.

“I have to say “The Gorgeous Nothings” has been an inspiration for us on the documentary team and I would love to use some of the layout ideas in the film’s graphic sequences and in the movie poster,” said Solon Papadopoulos, co-owner of Hurricane Films and director/producer of the film.

The film, narrated by Cynthia Nixon of “Sex and the City” and who starred in “A Quiet Passion” playing Emily Dickinson, will be screened at the Morgan Library in New York on May 11.

Dr. Werner, while examining Dickinson material in the Amherst College Library, came across a small, irregularly shaped collage cut from recycled 19th century envelopes and covered with writing in Dickinson’s script. She searched for similar items in other collections and found dozens that were never examined as a group. They served as the basis for the book.

The publication, with art work by Jen Bervin, was “the first devoted to full-color, actual size facsimiles of a specific body of her work,” said the New York Times in their book review.

Hurricane Films is based in Liverpool, England and produces films for both the big and small screen. Their recent film, “A Quiet Passion,” a biographical drama based on the life of Dickinson, premiered last year. Richard Brody of the New Yorker called it an “absolute, drop dead masterwork.”

It will be released on April 14 and will play in Amherst, Massachusetts, Dickinson’s hometown, that week.

The film company also produced the 2008 New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Documentary “Of Time and the City,” directed by Terence Davies.

Dr. Werner is a summa cum laude graduate of Ithaca College and earned her master’s and doctorate degrees in English at the State University at Buffalo.

She lectured on Dickinson’s unique manuscript practice at the Morgan Library on February 10, 2017.


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