Hear Andrew Bird, Phoebe Bridgers Update 1860s-Era Emily Dickinson Poem

“I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” was written in the early 1860s but not published until 1896
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Photo: Thos Robinson / Getty Images for The New Yorker

Andrew Bird and Phoebe Bridgers have teamed for a musical reinterpretation of the Emily Dickinson poem “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,” which was written in the early 1860s but not published until 1896. The recently recorded one-off collaboration finds the artists trading verses over a spare strings- and guitar-flecked arrangement and follows the June release of Bird’s latest album, Inside Problems.

“I came across this Emily Dickinson poem and found it to be the most vivid description of an inner world I’ve ever encountered,” Bird says. “It became an inspiration for the songs on Inside Problems. Who better to sing it with than Phoebe Bridgers? I sent her a demo and so, here we are. Thanks to Ms. Dickinson’s publisher at Harvard University Press for allowing us to use this poem. As I understand, her poems weren’t published as she intended them until the 1950s — that is, without the heavy hand of her male editors.”

A limited edition red seven-inch vinyl single of “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain” can be pre-ordered through Bird’s Web site.

Bird will perform Nov. 20 at the Corona Capital festival in Mexico City, ahead of a seven-show run of Gezelligheid holiday concerts at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in the artist’s Chicago hometown. After three shows in Australia in early March, Bird will return to the U.S. for an appearance at the Big Ears festival in Knoxville, Tenn., which will take place March 30-April 2.

Bridgers will also play Corona Capital on the same day as Bird, following three shows early next month in South America as part of Primavera Sound’s expansion into the region.

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