The Sisters Walk
Poetry by Emily Jane Bell, Audio by Sarah Dew
Emily and Sarah collaborated together to create this audio poem from
2020 to 2021. Sarah used Emily's evocative and often challenging poetry to inspire a soundscape of melody, sound art and field recordings. Some of the recordings were made on Haworth moor.
Emily Jane Bell explains:
‘The Sisters Walk’ is a poetic imagining of Emily Brontë's composition of Wuthering Heights, and of her relationship with her sister Anne Brontë. Emily and Anne wrote in collaboration on their intricately detailed, private fantasy world of Gondal, and their novels wrestle with many shared questions and themes. Ellen Nussey described them as being 'like twins - inseparable companions.' This piece explores their creative influence on each other, especially Anne's influence on Emily.
The poem is narrated by an imagined Emily Brontë, her voice blending with the voices of her characters over the course of the piece, blurring the boundaries between Catherine Earnshaw, Heathcliff and Emily herself. Extracts are included from Emily and Anne's 'Diary Papers' of 1834 and 1845, as well as from Anne's powerfully incisive preface to the second edition of her novel 'The Tenant of Wildfell Hall' in 1848.
'The Sisters Walk' is about the act of writing and the necessity of writing for these two sisters. It's about creative influences and collaboration and solitude. It's about the fierce clarity of vision that each of these writers had, and their determination to speak their 'unpalatable truths,' as Anne put it.