2013 Programs

Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon

Poetry Marathon

Friday, September 20--3 to 8 pm
Saturday, September 21--7 am to ?? (5 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 2013 reading will take place over two days:  Friday, September 20, from 3-8 pm, and Saturday, September 21, from 7 am until all poems have been read (~ 5 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!"


  • 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 2013 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! 
  • Location:  the marathon will take place in the Homestead parlor. Note:  there will be no guided tours of the Homestead on Saturday, September 21.  Both the Homestead and The Evergreens will be open from 11 am to 4 pm for a free open house.
  • Facebook/Twitter: Join the marathon virtually!  We will post periodic updates on our fan page and twitter.


This year's marathon is part of the Museum's celebration of its 10th anniversary.  The official celebration will take place on the Museum grounds from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday, September 21.  The evening will feature a celebratory reception and a reading from Susan Glaspell's play Alison's House, the first full-length play inspired by Emily Dickinson's life and work. Alison’s House, in which the family home is almost a participating character, was first perfomed in 1930,the centenary of Dickinson’s birth. For more information, click here.


This year's poetry marathon also serves as the kickoff of the first Amherst Poetry Festival, which will take place throughout downtown Amherst from September 20 through September 27. The event is co-sponsored by the Amherst Business Improvement District and the Emily Dickinson Museum.


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