2011 Programs

Poems Around Town poster
posters designed by Penny Michalak

Poems Around Town
April 2-May 21

Throughout the Big Read, encounter Emily Dickinson's poems in unexpected places as fifteen businesses and organizations in downtown Amherst host one of her verses.  Look for brightly-colored posters of Dickinson’s poems at the locations listed below.

For a map, click here!

Call 413-242-9070 to listen to the poems, recorded by distinguished readers or click on the links below.   For an audio welcome from Jane Wald, the Museum's executive director, click here.



Poem # First line Reader About the Reader Poem Location

Tell all the truth but tell it slant -

Jane Yolen

author of more than 300 published books

Emily Dickinson Museum


I heard a Fly buzz – when I died -

Martha Ackmann

President, Emily Dickinson International Society

Hope and Feathers Framing Gallery


The Riddle we can guess

Tony Maroulis

Executive Director, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce

Black Sheep Deli


They dropped like Flakes -

Polly Longsworth

Dickinson biographer

Town Hall


Wonder – is not precisely knowing

Daniel Hall

Writer-in-Residence and Chair of Creative Writing Center at Amherst College

Amherst Books


I stepped from Plank to Plank

Garrison Keillor

Host, A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer's Almanac

A. J. Hastings, Inc.


Wild nights – Wild nights!

Ellen Story

State Representative, 3rd Hampshire District

Amherst Chamber


Elysium is as far as to

Corinne Demas

Author and Professor of English, Mount Holyoke College

PeoplesBank (Amity Street Branch)


The Poets light but Lamps -

Harrison Gregg

Amherst Town Moderator

Jones Library


Volcanoes be in Sicily

Jennifer Acker

Editor, The Common

 Antonio's Pizza


To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee

Jane Wald

Executive Director, Emily Dickinson Museum

Judie's Restaurant


A little Madness in the Spring

Tom Reney

Producer/Host, Jazz á la Mode on WFCR 88.5FM

Ren's Mobil Station


I dwell in Possibility -

Mary Jo Salter

Poet, Professor at Johns Hopkins University, former Amherst resident



Beauty crowds me till I die

Alice Parker

Composer, conductor and teacher

The Pub 


Exultation is the going

Wilma Ortiz

Amherst Middle School Teacher, 2011 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year

Northampton Cooperative Bank (Triangle Street Branch)

Copyright Permission

All Big Read programs are free. For other Big Read programs at the Emily Dickinson Museum, click here.  For more information about other 2011 events at the Museum, visit our Events page.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest.  The Emily Dickinson Museum is one of 75 non-profit organizations throughout the United States to receive a grant to host a Big Read project this year. The Big Read gives local communities the opportunity to read, discuss, and celebrate together one of 31 selections from U.S. and world literature.  For more information about The Big Read, visit www.neabigread.org.