2012 Programs

2011 Marathon

photo by Steve Fratoni

Tired but happy readers at the 2011 Marathon "finish line"

Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon

Friday, September 28--3 to 8 pm
Saturday, September 29--8 am to ?? (6 pm?)

Location:  Emily Dickinson Museum
Fee: none

Don't miss this year's Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon, an annual reading of all 1,789 poems by Emily Dickinson!  No previous experience or qualifying time required. The 2012 reading will take place over two days:  Friday, September 28, from 3-8 pm, and Saturday, September 29, from 8 am until all poems have been read (~ 6 pm).

Whether you’re a longtime Emily Dickinson fan or new to Dickinson's poetry, the marathon is the perfect chance to experience Dickinson’s work in the place where she composed it. Greg Mattingly, a devoted participant of past marathons, says, "Don’t just read Emily Dickinson, join in the Marathon and experience her!"


On Friday, September 28, from 5-7 pm, the Museum will host a reception and art exhibit.  In addition to reading in the marathon, attendees can enjoy light refreshments, visit the two Dickinson houses, and view the Dickinson-inspired work of artist Elizabeth Pols, who created paintings and other artwork for three DVDs focusing on the poet.  At 5:30 pm, author Jane Yolen will read from her new volume of poetry, The Emily Sonnets.  The reception is open to the public; there is no charge for this event.  Click here for an invitation.


  • The text used for the marathon is The Poetry of Emily Dickinson, Reading Edition, ed. R. W. Franklin (1999), published by Harvard University Press. Franklin's edition is arranged chronolgoically by date of manuscript.  A limited number of copies of the Franklin text are available for marathon readers to share; participants are encouraged to bring a copy--or to purchase one in the Museum's shop.  It's an investment you won't regret!
  • The 2012 marathon will begin with those poems Franklin was unable to date (numbers 1686-1789), and then commence with poem 1 (composed ca. 1850).  The marathon will conclude with the two poems Dickinson is known to have written in 1886, the year she died.
  • No minimum participation required--stay for one poem, for one hour, for the entire event! All marathon readers will receive a special marathon bib, just like participants in road races and other sporting events!  Readers who arrive on Saturday morning between 8 and 10 am may partake of free coffee.  All marathon readers may also have their photos taken with a giant cardboard cut-out of Emily Dickinson.  For some hours, groups of anchor readers have been recruited to help keep the reading going.  For a list of anchor readers, click here.
  • Location:  On Friday, the marathon will take place in the Homestead parlor. On Saturday, the marathon will resume in the parlor until 10:30 am, when it will move outside to a tent on the lawn. Depending on weather, the marathon will conclude outside or will return to the parlors after the Museum's tours have ended for the day.  Please dress appropriately for the weather.
  • Facebook/Twitter: Join the marathon virtually!  We will post periodic updates on our fan page and twitter.


All readers are invited to join us for a finish-line celebration at the Marathon's conclusion on Saturday evening (~ 6 pm).  Revel in the completion of such a feat while enjoying goodies baked from Emily Dickinson's recipes.


Saturday, September 29, is also Member Day for Friends of the Emily Dickinson Museum.


For information on how you can participate as a reader in the marathon, please e-mail csdickinson@emilydickinsonmuseum.org.