2010 Programs

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Seeing New Englandly, painting by Elizabeth Pol
Seeing New Englandly, cover painting by Elizabeth Pols


"Seeing New Englandly" A Film Premiere

Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: At Amherst Cinema, 28 Amity Street, Amherst
Fee: $5 (free to members of Amherst Cinema and the Emily Dickinson Museum)

The Emily Dickinson Museum announces the premiere of “Seeing New Englandly.”  The hour-long documentary about the celebrated American poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) will be screened at Amherst Cinema, 28 Amity Street, on Tuesday, September 28, at 7:30 p.m. Part of Amherst Cinema’s “Meet the Artists” series, the screening will be followed by discussion with filmmaker Ernest Urvater and poet/scriptwriter/film narrator Susan Snively.

Admission is free for members of the Amherst Cinema and Pleasant Street Theater or members of the Emily Dickinson Museum. Tickets for all others are $5. Member tickets with ID at the Amherst Cinema box office and online at amherstcinema.org. Seating is limited and advance purchase is recommended.

“Seeing New Englandly” displays an impressive selection of Dickinson’s subjects—the Northern Lights, wild New England weather, volcanic eruptions, the violence and outrage of war, the threat of blindness, and what she called the enduring balm of beauty. Sixteen of the poet’s poems and passages from nineteen of her letters weave through the narrative. Illustrating the film are the lush paintings of artists who, like Dickinson, reveled in the natural world: Cole, Church, Inness, Kensett, and other painters influenced by the Hudson River school.  The videography, shot in all four seasons, accompanies rarely seen illustrations from Harper’s Weekly and other publications of the period. The musical background includes works by Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, and Mendelssohn.    

“Seeing New Englandly” draws upon the talents and expertise of many people in the Amherst community. The script was written and narrated by the poet Susan Snively, author of four books of poetry, including The Undertow and Skeptic Traveler.  The documentary was edited and produced by Ernest Urvater, a physicist who has created documentaries about the arts, including “Berthe Morisot: The Forgotten Impressionist” (2000) and “The Poet in Her Bedroom” (2008).”  

Among other local artists involved in the creation of “Seeing New Englandly” is Elizabeth Pols of Belchertown.  Her stunning oil painting of Dickinson at her bedroom window depicts the poet observing the private world that inspired her poetry.

Pianist Deborah Gilwood, a faculty member at Westfield State College and founder of the Blue Door chamber group, performs piano works that provide the musical background to the poet’s own “Bolts—of melody.”  Dickinson’s poetic response to death, and to the horrors of the Civil War, is accompanied by a Mohawk Trail Concert Series recording of the poignant Schubert String Quintet in C major.  Additional music is performed by mezzo-soprano Eileen Ruby, adjunct faculty member at Holyoke Community College, and by guitarist/composer John Sheldon.

Jane Wald, executive director of the Emily Dickinson Museum, notes that “Seeing New Englandly” will allow audiences “to experience Dickinson’s poetry through such riveting events of her own time as the Civil War and the search for the Northwest Passage, the nineteenth-century equivalent of space exploration.  Her formidable scientific education at Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke College deepened her response to these major international events unfolding around her.”

“Seeing New Englandly” is the second program in the series “Angles of a Landscape: Perspectives on Emily Dickinson.”  Both programs were created under the auspices of the Emily Dickinson Museum, where they are available for sale. “Seeing New Englandly” $29.95 and “The Poet in Her Bedroom” $19.95. The DVDs sell as a package for $45.

The Emily Dickinson Museum, comprising the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens, is devoted to the story and legacy of poet Emily Dickinson and her family. Both properties are owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. The museum is overseen by a separate Board of Governors charged with raising its operating and capital funds. The Homestead was the birthplace and residence of the poet (1830-1886). The Evergreens was the home of the poet's brother and sister-in-law, Austin and Susan Dickinson. The official museum website is www.EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org. Regular museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., March 31 through December 31, 2010, with extended summer hours 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., June through August.  The Emily Dickinson Museum is located at 280 Main Street in Amherst.