arts night

Amherst Arts Night Virtual Reading: October 1, 2020 at 6:30pm – REMOTE PROGRAM

arts night

During the pandemic, the Emily Dickinson Museum is celebrating monthly Amherst Arts Night Plus with remote poetry readings every first Thursday at 6:30pm (EST).

This program is free to attend. Registration is required. Click here to sign-up!



Our October featured poets are:


Rage Hezekiah

Rage Hezekiah is a New England based poet and educator, who earned her MFA from Emerson College. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The MacDowell Colony, and The Ragdale Foundation, and is the recipient of the Saint Botolph Foundation’s Emerging Artists Award. Her poems have been anthologized, co-translated, and published internationally. Rage’s debut full-length collection of poems, Stray Harbor, is available through Finishing Line Press. Her 2019 chapbook, Unslakable, is a 2018 Vella Chapbook Award winner available from Paper Nautilus.

For more information visit:


Poet Brionne Janae is pictured reflected in a mirror, holding a coffee in one hand and a phone in the other




Brionne Janae

Brionne Janae is a poet and educator living in Brooklyn. They are a recipient of the 2016 St. Botoloph Emerging Artist award, a Hedgebrook Alum and proud Cave Canem Fellow. Their poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The Sun Magazine jubilat, Sixth Finch, Plume, The Nashville Review, and Waxwing among others. Brionne’s first full length collection of poetry After Jubilee was published by Boaat Press.

For more information visit:



   Poet Taylor Johnson looks into the camera in front of a background of foliage

Taylor Johnson

Taylor Johnson is proud of being from Washington, DC. They’ve received fellowships and scholarships from CALLALOO, Cave Canem, Lambda Literary, Tin House, the Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, the Conversation Literary Festival,  the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, among other organizations. In 2017, Taylor received the Larry Neal Writers’ Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. 

Their poems appear in The Baffler, Indiana Review, Scalawag, and the Paris Review, among other journals and literary magazines. Their first book, Inheritance, will be published November 2020 with Alice James Books. Taylor lives in southern Louisiana where they listen.

For more information visit:

arts night

Amherst Arts Night Poetry Reading, August 6, 2020 – REMOTE PROGRAM

During the pandemic, the Emily Dickinson Museum is celebrating monthly Amherst Arts Night Plus with remote poetry readings every first Thursday at 6:30PM (EST).

This program is free to attend. Registration is required. To sign-up and receive the link, click here.



In August, our feature poets are:

Rebecca Hart Olander: Rebecca Hart Olander’s poetry has appeared recently in Crab Creek Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Tinderbox Poetry Journal, among others. Collaborative work made with Elizabeth Paul has been published in multiple venues online and in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing (Black Lawrence Press). Rebecca is a Women’s National Book Association poetry contest winner and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Her chapbook, Dressing the Wounds, was published by dancing girl press in 2019, and her debut full-length collection, Uncertain Acrobats, is forthcoming from CavanKerry Press in 2021. Rebecca teaches writing at Westfield State University and is editor/director of Perugia Press. Find her at and @rholanderpoet.




Photo credit Jen Fitzgerald


Leah Umansky: Leah Umansky is the author of two full length collections, The Barbarous Century (2018), and Domestic Uncertainties (2013), among others. She earned her MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and is the curator and host of The COUPLET Reading Series in NYC. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as The New York Times, POETRY, Guernica, Bennington Review, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day, Poetry International, Thrush Poetry Journal, Rhino, and Pleiades. She is resisting the tyrant with her every move. She is #teamstark  #teamelliot & #teambernard and can be found at Twitter: @lady_Bronte. Instagram: @leah.umansky 

(photo credit Jen Fitzgerald)
Omotara James:Omotara James is the author of the chapbook, “Daughter Tongue,” selected by African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2018 New Generation African Poets Box Set. Born in Britain, she is the daughter of Nigerian and Trinidadian immigrants. A former social worker in the field of Harm Reduction. She has been awarded fellowships from Lambda Literary and Cave Canem Foundation. She is a recipient of the 2019 92Y / Discovery Poetry Prize and the winner of the 2019 Bread Loaf Katharine Bakeless Nason Award in Poetry. In addition, her work has been recognized with the Nancy P. Schnader Academy of American Poets Prize, two Pushcart Prize nominations and one Best of the Net nomination. Her work was selected for the 2020 Best Small Fictions Anthology and she was a 2019 finalist for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in POETRY magazine, The Paris Review, The Academy of American Poets, Platypus Press,The Believer, Literary Hub, Poetry Society of America, Nat.Brut, No Tokens and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Poetry from New York University and lives in NYC. Her debut collection of poems, “Song of my Softening” is forthcoming from Alice James Books and available for pre-order here:

Martha Ackmann Virtual Book Talk and Q&A, August 16, 2020, 5-6 p.m. (EST)

“Radiant prose, palpable descriptions, and deep empathy for the poet’s sensibility make this biography extraordinary.”

– Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Join us for a virtual reading and Q&A with Martha Ackmann, author of the recently released These Fevered Days (W.W. Norton, 2020)! On this auspicious day, exactly 150 years since the meeting of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson in the Homestead parlor, Ackmann will read the chapter detailing this particular pivotal moment. During the robust Q&A to follow, pose your question to the poet’s most recent biographer. 

This program is free to attend and registration is required. Click here to register.

About the book:

In These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson, Ackmann unravels the mysteries of Dickinson’s life through ten days that distill her evolution as a poet. Following Dickinson through her religious crisis while a student at Mount Holyoke, her exhilarating frenzy of composition, her startling decision to ask a famous editor for advice, her anguished letters to an unidentified “Master,” her lifelong friendship with writer Helen Hunt Jackson, and her despair in confronting possible blindness, These Fevered Days utilizes thousands of archival letters and poems as well as never-before-seen photos to construct a remarkable map of Emily Dickinson’s inner life. The book provides new insights into Dickinson’s wildly original poetry and draws a vivid portrait of American literature’s most enigmatic figure.

To purchase your copy from your local, independent book seller, visit

About the author: 

Dr. Martha Ackmann is a journalist and author who writes about women who have changed America.  Her essays and columns have appeared in The New York Times, Paris Review, and The Atlantic. She also is a frequent commentator for New England Public Radio, and has been featured on CNN, National Public Radio, and the BBC. Martha’s award-winning books include The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight, Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone, First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League, and These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson. A long-time member of the Gender Studies Department at Mount Holyoke College, Martha taught a popular seminar on Emily Dickinson in the poet’s house, now the Emily Dickinson Museum, in Amherst, Massachusetts. For more information visit

Emily Dickinson International Society Annual Meeting, July 31-August 1, 2020

daguerreotype photograph of Emily Dickinson at age 16In collaboration with the Emily Dickinson Museum, the 2020 EDIS Annual Meeting will be held virtually from July 31 to August 1. This remote event requires advance sign up; to register, click this link:

This year’s focus is “Dickinson at a Distance” –  How does Dickinson respond generatively and creatively to friends, relatives, and other writers even over distances of time and space? How does she engage with events that happen elsewhere or in other historical periods? What does she think about strangers, immigrants, people living in other places? In what ways did Dickinson and others in her era close geographic and emotional distance, and how might we learn to overcome or interrogate the same issues? This virtual, one-day Annual Meeting explores how figurations of isolation, distance, and remoteness in Dickinson’s work can teach us ways to connect more deeply with each other on personal, emotional, and intellectual levels.

 A variety of synchronic and asynchronic scholarly panels, cultural events, and poetry sessions, using Zoom and YouTube as platforms, are planned for this event.

To find out more about the schedule for this event, click here: [Link]

a wheelbarrow for garden days

CANCELED – Garden Days, August 2 & 3, 2020

a wheelbarrow for garden days

Tidying the gardens at the Homestead

This program has been cancelled due to the pandemic. You may be interested in this remote program with master gardener and author Marta McDowell.

Celebrate the beauty of summer during Garden Days at the Emily Dickinson Museum! As summer temperatures descend upon Amherst, Emily’s garden begs to be tended. Join our 2018 Gardener-in-Residence Marta McDowell and a group of volunteers to aid in the cultivation and growth of the historic Dickinson family landscape. You do not need to be an expert gardener for this “all levels” program. Learn from volunteers who have tended the gardens in the past and become part of a new generation of caretakers for this precious piece of land. During Garden Days, visitors to the Museum can tend the historic landscape, discuss nature poetry under the great white oak tree, learn about the ongoing archaeological work, and enjoy gatherings in the garden all weekend long.

Color photograph of synagogue ceiling

“We are the grandchildren + great grandchildren of Shoah survivors…”

Postcard Verso:

Hope is the thing with feathers…

We are the grandchildren + great
grandchildren of Shoah survivors &
we are afraid. In these times
when we fear for our safety, it’s a
great comfort to reflect on Ms.
Emily’s hopeful poetry.

Miss Emily, thank you for giving us the
tune without the words.

-Hyphen (?)

arts night

Amherst Arts Night Virtual Reading: September 3, 2020 at 6:30PM – REMOTE PROGRAM

arts night

During the pandemic, the Emily Dickinson Museum is celebrating monthly Amherst Arts Night Plus with remote poetry readings every first Thursday.

Join us for our September reading by three Pioneer Valley authors with new books this year. Crater & Tower (Duck Lake Books) by Cheryl J. Fish is a collection of poetry of inspired research and engaged imagination that centers on the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens and 9/11.  Kathryn Holzman’s historical novel, Real Estate (Propertius Press) is a fascinating account of the rise of Silicon Valley. Eileen P. Kennedy’s poetry collection, Touch My Head Softly (Finishing Line Press) sensitively explores the anguish of dying of Alzheimer’s disease for both the victim and the partner.

This program is free to attend. Registration is required. To sign-up and receive the link, click here.

Our September featured writers are:

A photo of author Kathryn Holzman in front of an ocean vista 

Kathryn Holzman: After attending Stanford University and NYU, Kathryn Holzman chose Health Care Administration as a career, working with public inebriates, dentists, urologists, and cardiologists. When the right side of her brain rebelled against endless databases and balance sheets, she returned to her first passion—fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in over twenty online literary magazines and print anthologies. She is the author of a collection of short fiction, Flatlanders (Shire Press, 2019) Her first novel Real Estate is being published by Propertius Press in Fall, 2020. She was awarded the Grand Prize  in the 2020 Eyelands International Short Story Contest. Links to her work can be found at



Cheryl J. Fish pictured in sunglasses smiling at the camera 

Cheryl J. Fish:  Cheryl J. Fish’s new poetry book Crater & Tower (Duck Lake Books), examines trauma, natural and man-made disaster at Mount St. Helens Volcano and The World Trade Center after the 9-11 attack. Fish is also the author of Make It Funny, Make it Last (#171, Belladonna Chaplets) and her poetry has appeared in the recent ecopoetics anthology: Poetics for the more-than-human-world. Her fiction was featured in Liars League NYC, Iron Horse Literary Review, and her first novel, Off the Yoga Mat, about three characters turning age 40 during Y2K, will be published by Livingston Press in 2022. She was a visiting professor at Mt. Holyoke College, and is a professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York.  



Eileen P. Kennedy is pictured sitting at a table in front of an open book 

Eileen P. Kennedy: Eileen P. Kennedy is a poet and academic who has focused on the writing process. Her former partner died of Alzheimer’s Disease in his 60’s and this new collection, Touch My Head Softly (Finishing Line Press), is based on those experiences.  Her first book, Banshees (Flutter Press, 2015) was nominated for a Pushcart and awarded Second Prize from the Wordwrite Books Award in Poetry. She holds a doctorate in language and literacy and has published a textbook, fiction and nonfiction. She lives in Western Massachusetts where she canoes, hikes, and writes. She winters in Costa Rica.  More at

poetry festival

The 2020 Tell It Slant Poetry Festival: Remote Event

The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival (formerly the Amherst Poetry Festival) is a free event that celebrates the poetic legacy of Emily Dickinson and the contemporary creativity of the Pioneer Valley and beyond.

This year’s Festival will be held remotely, and will take place September 14-20, 2020. The schedule is now live and includes headliners Ada Limón, Jericho Brown, Kimaya Diggs, Franny Choi, Shayla Lawson, and, as is tradition, the Emily Dickinson Marathon.

View the 2020 Festival Schedule

About the Festival:

Produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, with support from the Amherst Business Improvement District, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and in partnership with the Jones Library, the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival celebrates the poetic legacy of Emily Dickinson and the contemporary creativity of the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The Festival’s new name “Tell It Slant,” was selected in homage to Dickinson’s poem, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant”, underscoring the revolutionary power of poetry to shift our perspective and reveal new truths. The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival remains committed to featuring and serving established and emerging poets who represent the diversity of the contemporary American poetry landscape and to fostering community by placing poetry in the public sphere. The annual event attracts a diverse regional audience of poetry-lovers, including families, students, educators, aspiring writers, and those who are new to poetry and literary events. Past Festival headliners have included James Tate, Dara Weir, Martín Espada, Kaveh Akbar, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Adrian Matejka, Shayla Lawson, and Ocean Vuong.

block party

Please note: The Festival Steering Committee is planning a virtual 2020 event to ensure the health and safety of participants during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are disappointed not to gather together in Amherst, we find (as always) that Dickinson, the original queen of social distancing, offers inspiration. During this time, we call on you to help us carry on Dickinson’s legacy of creating community and sparking the imagination as we shelter in place.

Support The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival and Honor Someone Special:
Admission to all Festival events is free, but online donations, especially those made in honor or memory of family, friends, or colleagues are heartily encouraged and vital to the future of this beloved annual event. All gifts are tax deductible and will be recognized as part of the Festival.

View Past Festival Schedules:
2019 Amherst Poetry Festival


A special thank you to our individual supporters:
Aife Murray in memory of Eleanor Moran Evans; Amy Sayers; Ani Tuzman; Ann E Quinn; Ann E. Van Dyke; Anne Gottlieb; Anne S. Bakeman; April S Ridge in memory of Sean Mason; Aran Donovan; Arun Prakash Sanghvi; Barbara Bald; Barbara Greenbaum; Beth Curran; Bridget Boylan; Bridget McGraw; Brunilda Kondi; Carol Tierney; Carol Young; Carri Lynn George; Cassandra Whetstone; Catherine A Kreyche; Catherine Gewertz; Charlene Haskins Baumbich in celebration of Emily & Talented Cousin Diane; Charles W.V. Young; Christopher Diaz; Claudia J Pocock in memory of Ruth Bader Ginsberg; Cynthia Bargar; Cynthia Stanton in celebration; Daniel M Perrine; David Banach; David M Williams; David M. Clayton; Dawn Marar; Deborah Polansky; Deirdre Abbott Casey; Denise B Trach in celebration of Poetry; Denise O Parsons; Doris W Brogan in memory of Sandra Lamb; Dr. Eleanor Heginbotham in honor of EDIS Friends of Four Decades; E Sidney Zimet; Edith Benson and Stephen Benson; Eileen C Williams; Eleanor Kedney; Elizabeth J Kandall in memory of RBG; Elizabeth L Levin Pittel; Elizabeth Maxey; Ellen Rook; Emily Lackey in celebration of The Emily Dickinson Museum Staff; Emily Page; Erica Plouffe Lazure; Erika D. Walker in honor of Elizabeth Robinson; Erika Hendra in memory of Jason Ram; Evelyn Asher in memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Evelyn Walsh in celebration of Marianne Kulla Strauss; Florencia Milito; Frances Nan; Gail M Menius in celebration of Donna Ferrin; Gerald Gotterer; Glenna Wong in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Grant P Davis; Harbour Fraser Hodder; Hayley Barrett; Hayley Bernier; Hilaree L Robinson; Hope Whitby; Jac-Lynn Stark; James Gordon Fairburn; Jenna Schiappacasse; Jenny McGullam; Jessica Mink; Jessica N Bowdoin; Jessica Purdy; Jessie Lemmon; Jo Taylor; Joanne Barclay Skoller; John Valentine in celebration of Jean Valentine; Joshua T. Platt; Karen E Scott; Karen M Homer in memory of Andrew Peik; Karen Skolfield; Kate Angus; Kathleen Patricia McGraw in celebration of Bridget McGraw; Kathryn Gearheard; Kellie L. Burdg; Kiev A Rattee; Lanette Ward in honor of Emily Golden; Laura Goldstein; Laura Grzybowski in honor of Brooke Eugenia Steinhauser; Laura Johnson in celebration of Molly Shedek-Alexander; Laura Williams; Laurel Radzieski; Lesley M Tyson; Lester Hamilton; Linda Hillman; Linda M. Golden; Linda Siptroth; Lissa Pierce-Bonifaz; Lucy Abbott-Pawlishen in memory of Livingston Pangburn; Lynette Terrell; Lynn M Kincanon; Marcia Camino in memory of Michael Mason;Margaret M Stawowy in honor of Doris Stawowy; Margaret Ohrn; Marianne Worthington in honor of Jericho Brown; Marion Van Arsdell; Marisa Traylor; Mark Jackett; Martha A. Ackmann; Martha Addy Freedberg in memory of Lura Addy Young; Martina F Powell; Mary A. Smith in memory of Meredith Brook; Mary H Harris; Mary T Schneider; Maureen Regan; Meg Reynolds; Meghan Marks; Melanie Reed; Nancy M McKay in memory of Natalie Lucchese; Natalia Sperry in memory of Diantha Sperry (née Pangborn); Nathalie F Anderson; Nazare Hamilton; Nicole Pura Heath; Nora T. Maroulis in memory of Mary Carr Trebbe; Paola Vavrusova; Patrice Pinette; Paul Telles; Peggy C. Hall; Peggy O’Neil Dailey in memory of Jean R. Kline; Peter McGullam in memory of Ellen Miller; Quinn McAdam; Rachel Wysoker; Renee Hamlin; Richard D Deaton; Robert L. Gamble; Rose M Smith; Rosemary C McInnes; Sara Schlossman in honor of All the poets who keep doing the work; Sarah Harding Fox in memory of Ruth Bader Ginsberg; Sam McGullam in celebration of Elizabeth, Brooke, and Melizza—the Emily Dickinson Museum programs staff; Sarah Willburn in memory of Pansylea Willburn; Sean St. Marie; Sharon Hayes; Shelly Krehbiel; Siobhan Mulvey in celebration of Emily Dickinson; Sneha Madhavan-Reese; Sophia Nicholson; Stacy Evans; Steven John Wagner; Susan L Moore; Terry House; Tom Newman; Tricia Coscia; Vivian Zoma; Wendy Drexler; Yamini Pathak

postcard with a paper collage of flower books and words on lace fragments

“I reckon – when I count at all – “

Postcard front:

I reckon – when I count at all –
First – Poets – Then the Sun –
Then Summer – Then the Heaven of God –
And then – the List is done –

But, looking back – the First so seems –
To Comprehend the whole –
The others look a needless show –
So I write – Poets – All – 

Black and white postcard depicting a photograph of Eudora Welty sitting outside by a sprinkler and a garden

“Among Welty’s 5,000 books…”

Postcard verso:

The Eudora Welty House and Garden
1109 Pinehurst Street
Jackson, MS 39202

Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson!
Eudora Welty was a Pulitzer Prize –
winning author and an avid letter 
writer and reader. Her correspondence is
house at the Mississippi Department
of Archives and History and her house
and garden are now open to the public, much
like Dickinson’s Homestead. Among Welty’s
5,000 books are a collection of Emily 
Dickinson’s poems and a selection of her letters.
From one literary museum to another,
happy 189th, Emily!


The Eudora Welty House & Garden,
Jackson, MS

-Rachel  Lauren  Kasey  Demia