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Quiz: Radiohead Lyric or Emily Dickinson Phrase?

Christine Ro

Staff Writer

Christine writes about books for Literary Hub, VICE, and the Ploughshares blog. She occasionally writes about other topics, because someone once told her (although it seemed implausible) that there’s life outside of books. Blog:

By Kollision [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In the Venn diagram of Radiohead fans and Emily Dickinson lovers, there’s probably some overlap. After all, both the poet and the band have a healthy appreciation of quiet despair. They both know the value of solitude. And they’re both prone to fanciful imagery, making you feel as if your own fever dreams just aren’t as compelling. Even if Radiohead is more akin to, say, Anthony Burgess than Emily Dickinson, the tonal similarities are there.

This silly little quiz tests the knowledge of both the American poet and the British band. Your task is to judge whether the following lines come from Dickinson poems or Radiohead songs.

To make this extra challenging, everything is in lowercase. Line breaks and punctuation have been removed. Yes, yes, I know that punctuation and pacing are key to Dickinson’s peculiar rhythms, but this quiz is all about the words. (Answers are at the bottom of the page.)


questions – radiohead or emily dickinson?

  1. the mongrel cat came home holding half a head
  2. inebriate of air
  3. the distant strains of triumph burst agonized and clear
  4. broken hearts make it rain
  5. i felt a funeral in my brain
  6. tie me to the rotten deck
  7. how dreary to be somebody
  8. howling down the chimney
  9. disappointed people clinging onto bottles
  10. he bit an angle worm in halves
  11. why so green and lonely
  • he talks in maths
  • the truth must dazzle gradually
  • get the flan in the face the flan in the face
  • nobody wants to be a slave



     ANSWERS – Radiohead or emily dickinson?



    The following are lyrics from Radiohead songs: 1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15.

    It was harder than it seemed, wasn’t it? There, there.