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Virtual Poetry Discussion Group
May 18 & May 28

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion Group meets monthly, September through May, for lively conversation about Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters.

Join us on Tuesday, May 18 or Friday, May 28 from 1pm to 2:30pm EST on Zoom. Space is limited. To request a space, please fill out this registration form.

This program is free of charge, but we encourage those who are able to do so to make a donation after the program.

“Receiving Emily: Dickinson’s Addressed Poems”

In this session, we will look closely at the social life Emily Dickinson created with her poetry. While certainly not a social butterfly, Dickinson was nevertheless extensive in her social calls via the poetry she sent in, with, or as letters. What was it like to receive a poem from Emily? Through a discussion of poems and their variants, we will consider the ways she addressed her friends and acquaintances, and how we are addressed by her today. Poems for discussion include: variants of “Except the smaller size” (Fr606); variants of “Your – Riches – taught me – poverty!” (F418) and more.

About the Facilitator
Judith Scholes is Assistant Professor of English at St. Mark’s and Corpus Christi Colleges at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. She has a PhD in English from UBC, and specializes in nineteenth-century American print culture, women’s poetry and editing, and Emily Dickinson. She is currently completing a book that examines the rhetoric of women’s poetry as it emerged in mid-nineteenth century American periodicals, and shaped Emily Dickinson’s understanding and representation of herself as a poet. She is also pursuing a new book-length project that investigates the existence and rhetoric of women’s editorial work at U.S. daily newspapers during the first 70 years (~1830-1900) of women’s presence in newsrooms. Her work has appeared in the Emily Dickinson JournalAmerican Periodicals, and is forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Emily Dickinson.

Questions? write edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

studio sessions

“A Mighty Room” Virtual Studio Session: Bedroom
Friday, May 7, 12-1pm

Emily Dickinson's white dress on a stand in her bedroom

 

Sweet hours have perished here;

This is a mighty room;

Within its precincts hopes have played, —

Now shadows in the tomb.  

-J1767 

 

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

Space is limited for this program and you may be added to a waitlist.
Update: Registration for this program has filled. 

Spend a “sweet hour” in Emily Dickinson’s creative space where she penned her startling poetry. Whether you are a writer, an artist, a composer, or a poet, you’ll find solace and inspiration for your artistic output in Emily Dickinson’s bedroom. Let this quiet virtual experience jumpstart your next creative journey. 

What to expect: As one of a limited number of remote participants, you will need to find a quiet spot with a good internet connection from which to be immersed in a live feed from the poet’s bedroom in the Dickinson family Homestead. Plan to have your camera and audio on. In this room Dickinson found freedom working up late by lamplight. A facilitator in the room welcomes you and gently guides you through three inspirational writing prompts to help you explore this unique physical and psychic space and unleash your own creativity over the course of the hour. Focused on reflection and quietude, this program is not a writing workshop, but you will have the opportunity at the end for a short share-out with the group if you wish.

honeybees on white asters

Virtual Poetry Discussion Group
April 16 & April 20

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion Group meets monthly, September through May, for lively conversation about Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters.

Join us on Friday, April 16 from 12pm to 1:30pm EST or Tuesday, April 20, from 6pm to 7:30pm EST on Zoom. Space is limited, and registration for this program is now closed.

This program is free of charge, but we encourage those who are able to do so to make a donation after the program.

Topic: “We – Bee and I – live by the quaffing –”: Exploring Emily Dickinson’s Bees
Bees were incredibly popular figures in nineteenth-century American poetry: Emerson’s “The Humble-Bee” is one celebrated example, but bees also play prominent roles in poems by Henry David Thoreau, Edgar Allan Poe, John Greenleaf Whittier, Priscilla Jane Thompson, among many others. What distinguishes Emily Dickinson from these other poets is the breadth of her representations of bees. Dickinson’s use of bees lends itself to discussion of a remarkably rich array of themes: gender and sexuality, class and race, scientific and ecological discourse, religion, and aesthetics (and no doubt many more). Reflecting on this symbolic density, our discussion will chart points of congruity and incongruity between Dickinson’s changeable bees. 

About the Facilitator
Claire Nashar is a scholar, translator, editor, and poet. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Buffalo (SUNY), supported by a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship. Winner of an Excellence in Teaching Award, she has published two books of poems, Lake (2016) and Handmade (2015) and a number of interviews, translations, poems, and critical essays. She edited a special issue of Formes Poétiques Contemporaines and is at work on a book-length translation of Louis Aragon’s Le Fou d’Elsa (1963). Nashar served as curator of the online Australian Poetry Library and as Assistant Project Editor and Manager for the Marianne Moore Digital Archive.

Questions? write edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

Homestead piano and sheet music

Virtual Poetry Discussion Group
March 19 & 26

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion Group meets monthly, September through May, for lively conversation about Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters.

Join us from 12pm to 1:30pm on Zoom for a discussion on March 19 or March 26. Space is limited. Please submit a registration request via this google form.

This program is free of charge, but we encourage those who are able to do so to make a donation after the program.

Topic: Yankee Doodle Variations: Emily Dickinson and Improvisation

The basic facts of Emily Dickinson’s known musical life have been well documented. She was said, at age 2 1/2, to enjoy playing “the moosic” on her aunt Lavinia’s piano. As a child, she took singing lessons, and later sang alongside other students at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, where she also likely heard the Hutchinson Family Singers perform. In her twenties, she wrote of hearing the internationally famous soprano Jenny Lind, collected dozens of pieces of sheet music, and earned a reputation as a striking improviser at the piano. In fact, the Hutchinsons and Lind, among other performers Dickinson heard, were also widely recognized for their improvisations. 

Dickinson’s musical knowledge informed the writing of her poems. Judy Jo Small and other critics have noted that many poems follow familiar patterns of hymns, nursery rhymes, and ballads. Dickinson also wrote about music in letters and poems, demonstrating a nuanced grasp of musical principles. Finally, her poems’ formal qualities demonstrate the influence of improvisational performance practice. Those she kept for herself, in private, contain alternate words and markings, something like the annotated scores of a performing musician. Those she sent to friends and family were customized, often making use of these variants but seldom containing variants themselves. These function something like the extemporaneous piano performances for which she was known. 

To set the stage for this discussion, I will begin by presenting some foundational information about Dickinson’s musical life and interests, including how people of her time experienced and thought about improvisation and spontaneity more generally, both in music and in writing. Then we will discuss several poems – and perhaps a letter or two – that touch on music in social and natural settings. We will close by discussing a poem across several extant manuscripts, as an example of improvised poetic performance.

About the Facilitator
Gerard Holmes
completed a PhD in English Literature in 2020, at the University of Maryland, College Park, with a dissertation titled “‘Discretion in the Interval’: Emily Dickinson’s Musical Performances.” He has published in The Emily Dickinson JournalReception, and Women’s Studies, a special themed issue, “New Directions in Dickinson and Music,” which he also co-edited. He contributed a chapter to the forthcoming Oxford Handbook to Emily Dickinson.

a row of Dickinson's textbooks on a shelf

“A Mighty Room” Virtual Studio Session: Library
Thursday, March 4, 12-1pm

the inside of the homestead library

The Homestead Library

Sweet hours have perished here;

This is a mighty room;

Within its precincts hopes have played, —

Now shadows in the tomb.  

-J1767 

Spend a “sweet hour” in Emily Dickinson’s creative space where she penned her startling poetry. Whether you are a writer, an artist, a composer, or a poet, you’ll find solace and inspiration for your artistic output in Emily Dickinson’s library. Let this quiet virtual experience jumpstart your next creative journey. 

What to expect: As one of a limited number of participants, you will need to find a quiet spot with a good internet connection from which to be immersed in a live feed from the library of Emily Dickinson’s Homestead. Plan to have your camera and audio on. In this room were gathered Dickinson’s favorite books, her “Kinsmen of the Shelves” that “carried her to lands away.” A facilitator in the room welcomes you and gently guides you through three inspirational writing prompts to help you explore this unique physical and psychic space and unleash your own creativity over the course of the hour. Focused on reflection and quietude, this program is not a writing workshop, but you will have the opportunity at the end for a short share-out with the group if you wish. 

Space is limited for this program.  Please request a space using our registration form.

This program is free to participate, but your donation helps the Museum to continue providing free programs! Participants will be invited to make an online donation after the program.

Questions? write edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org. 

Fireplace in Emily Dickinson's bedroom

Virtual Poetry Discussion Group, February 19 & 24

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion Group meets monthly, September through May, for lively conversation about Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters.

Join us from 12pm to 1:30pm on Zoom for a discussion on February 19 or February 24. Space is this program is no longer available. For questions, please write edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

This program is free of charge, but we encourage those who are able to do so to make a donation after the program.

Topic: “Emily Dickinson’s Hearths and Homes”
  Emily Dickinson’s experience of the family hearth and home became her metaphor for the transformation of thought into poetry.  Six poems about homes and hearths show how Dickinson used these images, how they evolved over time, and, time permitting, how they contrasted with other writers’ images of the family hearth.  

About the Facilitator
Melba Jensen has taught English, computer literacy, and mathematics to college students and high-school students since 1986. She completed her Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in nineteenth-century American Literature at the University of Massachusetts in 2005. She is a lecturer in American Literature at UMass-Amherst, and a guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum.

poetry discussion group

Virtual Poetry Discussion Group, January 15 & 22

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion Group meets monthly, September through May, for lively conversation about Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters.

 

Join us from 1pm to 2:30pm on Zoom for a discussion on January 15 or January 22. Space is limited. To request a space, please complete this google form. For questions, please write edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

This program is free of charge, but we encourage those who are able to do so to make a donation after the program.

Topic: Title: “Nerve in Marble: the Geology of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry”   
Amanda Lowe’s work on Emily Dickinson interprets the processes of geothermal activity and rock metamorphosis as central to Dickinson’s poetic forms. This discussion invites participants to explore a collection of Dickinson’s poems that use images of volcanoes, granite and marble to explore the effects of human emotion on the body. We’ll discuss the development of geologic inquiry during the nineteenth century, Dickinson’s education in it, and suggest ways these theories seeped into her poetry. Through speakers’ depictions of highly alive and dead bodies, we’ll look together at the profound impact geology had on Dickinson’s understanding of the human relationship to the natural world.

About the Facilitator
Amanda Lowe is a PhD Candidate at Columbia University who researches the presence of geologic theory in nineteenth century American Literature. She is a current SOF/Heyman Center Public Humanities Fellow and the Graduate Student Coordinator for the Freedom and Citizenship Program. 

daguerreotype in gilt frame of Amherst College

Emily Dickinson’s Amherst College, December 4, 12-1:15pm

daguerreotype in gilt frame of Amherst College

Amherst College circa 1855. Half plate ambrotype by E.W. Cowles, courtesy of Amherst College Archives and Special Collections.

 

Join Museum staff for a lively lunchtime talk about the impact of Amherst College on the life of poet Emily Dickinson. 

The Dickinson family were instrumental to the College during its first 75 years, beginning with Samuel Fowler Dickinson’s part in its founding and continuing with Edward and Austin’s combined 60 years of service as treasurers. The College was an early and lasting influence in Dickinson’s own life, playing an inestimable role in her early education & friendships, and later connecting her to an ever-widening local and global community. Through original photographs and archival documents, encounter some of the people and places that defined Dickinson’s 19th century Amherst College, including students, professors, workers, and alumni. 

Following the talk, enjoy the Q&A with museum guides Stephanie Bennett, Brenna Macaray, Dr. Christopher Fobare, and Anna Plummer.

 

All are welcome to attend this free program, but registration is required. Register in advance via zoom. 
Questions? Please write edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org. 

a grid showing headshots of Jericho Brown, Kimaya Diggs, and Ada Limon. In the fourth square are the words "Tell It Slant"

Festival Headliners Ada Limón and Jericho Brown with Music by Kimaya Diggs
September 19, 7pm

a grid showing headshots of Jericho Brown, Kimaya Diggs, and Ada Limon. In the fourth square are the words "Tell It Slant"Settle in for an evening of music and poetry celebrating Emily Dickinson’s ongoing creative legacy with the work of three contemporary artists. Singer-songwriter Kimaya Diggs, brings you new original settings of Dickinson poems live from the poet’s bedroom, and headliners Ada Limón and Jericho Brown read from their work and discuss their poetic practice and inspiration. The evening begins and ends with 20-minute musical sets by Diggs, bookending the headliner poetry reading and Q&A with Brown, Limón, and guest interviewer Nathan McClain.  Don’t miss out on this special evening of community through art!

Live captioning will be available at this event!

*A note about Rosh Hashanah: We apologize that this event falls on the occasion of the Jewish New Year. The Festival has historically been scheduled in the third week of September for consistency and to avoid overlap with other local events. This program will be recorded and made available to view for three months following the event itself. Please register to receive information on how to view the recording. Shanah Tovah! 

About the artists:

Kimaya Diggs Portrait

 

Kimaya Diggs has mastered a genre-defying style. Inspired by the acrobatic folk renderings of Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald’s jazz stylings, and Lianna LaHavas’ soulful charisma, she draws skillfully from her lineage of musical pioneers, creating a musical lane all her own. With a playful presence and frank, transporting storytelling, Diggs’ mastery of her voice is the focal point of each performance, and a transfixing experience. Information and music at kimayadiggs.com or on instagram at @kimayadiggs.

 

Portrait of poet Ada LimonAda Limón is the author of five books of poetry, including The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, 2018), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and was named one of the top 5 poetry books of the year by the Washington Post. Her fourth book Bright Dead Things was named a finalist for the National Book Award, a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She serves on the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte Low Residency M.F.A program, and the online and summer programs for the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. She also works as a freelance writer in Lexington, Kentucky.

 

picture of Jericho Brown: a black man wearing a yellow t-shirt smiles in front of some daffodilsJericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. He is also the author of the collection The Tradition (2019), which was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and the winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His poems have appeared in Buzzfeed, The Nation, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, TIME magazine, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and several volumes of The Best American Poetry anthologies. He is an associate professor and the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University in Atlanta.

About the interviewer:

A color head shot of poet and educator Nathan McClainNathan McClain is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017), a recipient of fellowships from Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Frost Place, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers.  His poems and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Green Mountains Review, Poem-a-Day, The Common, and The Critical Flame.  He teaches at Hampshire College. For more information visit www.nathanmcclain.com.

 

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. 

2020 Tell It Slant Facebook Video – Festival Headliners Ada Limón and Jericho Brown with Music by Kimaya Diggs

2020 Tell It Slant Schedule

 

foursquare of poet headshots

Black Lives and Black Poetics Matter: A Reading and Discussion curated by Faraday Publishing
September 17, 7:30pm

Join us for an evening of vibrant poetry and dialogue on the vitality and importance of Black Lives and Black Poetics in contemporary America. Moderated by Enzo Silon Surin, founder and director of Faraday Publishing, this panel will feature leading Black poets, scholars, and educators, including Dr. Tony Medina, Bonita Lee Penn, Lisa Pegram, and Dr. Shauna Morgan.

About the poets:

tony medina headshot

Dr. Tony Medina is a poet, scholar, and children’s book author. Born in the South Bronx, Medina earned a BA from Baruch College and an MA and a PhD in African American and American literature and creative writing from the State University of New York, Binghamton. He is the author and editor of more than a dozen books for adults and young readers. His most recent collections of poetry include Broke Baroque (2Leaf Press, 2013), a finalist for the Julie Suk Award for Best Poetry Book from an Independent Press, and the blues-memoir My Old Man Was Always on the Lam (NYQ Books, 2011), a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. In his work, Medina explores the transformative intersections of racial and class struggle.  Medina has been featured in the Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Literature (edited by Tarshia L. Stanley, 2008) and was cited in the Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip Hop Culture (edited by Yvonne Bynoe, 2005). He has edited a number of anthologies, including Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Broadway Books, 2001), named a Best Book of 2002 by the Washington Post. Medina is the recipient of the Langston Hughes Society Award and the first African Voices Literary Award.  He currently teaches at Howard University, where he was named the first professor of creative writing. Medina lives in Washington, D.C.

headshot of shauna morganDr. Shauna M. Morgan, author of the chapbook Fear of Dogs & Other Animals, is a poet and scholar from a rural district in Clarendon, Jamaica. An Associate Professor of creative writing and Africana literature at Howard University in Washington, D.C., she has published poetry in A Gathering Together, ProudFlesh: New Afrikan Journal of Culture, Politics & Consciousness, A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, Interviewing the Caribbean, and elsewhere.  Her critical work has appeared in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing, South Atlantic ReviewBulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, and ariel: A Review of International English Literature, among other periodicals. Shauna recently moved to Lexington, Kentucky where she tends to a hopeful garden.

headshot of lisa pegramLisa Pegram is a writer, educator, arts integration specialist and literary publicist. Her chapbook Cracked Calabash was published by Central Square Press, in addition to poems and essays published by Random House, Black Classic Press and Poets.org, among others. She has over 20 years of experience in high-level program design for such organizations as the Smithsonian Institute, Corcoran Gallery of Art and National Geographic. Passionate about the arts as a tool for activism, she served as DC WritersCorps program director for a decade, and as co-chair of United Nations affiliate women’s conferences in the US, India and Bali. Lisa completed her MFA at Lesley University and has an Executive Certification in Arts & Culture Strategies from UPenn. A Washington, DC native, she is currently based in the Caribbean where, in addition to her literary pursuits, she is a personal chef aka food poet. Awards include: Larry Neal Writer’s Award Finalist; Uplifting Human Values Award (Art of Living Foundation) and DC Mayor’s Arts Award for “Outstanding Emerging Artist.” Her official website is: ladypcoq.wordpress.com

headshot of Bonita Lee PennBonita Lee Penn is a Pittsburgh poet, editor, curator and author of the chapbook, Every Morning A Foot Is Looking For My Neck (Central Square Press, 2019). Her work has appeared in JOINT. Literary MagazineHot Metal Bridge Journal, The Massachusetts Review, “The Skinny” Poetry Journal, Women Studies Quarterly, Voices from the Attic Anthology and her poem “When Lightning Rides Thunder Bareback” was the Solstice Editors’ Pick for the 2018 summer issue of Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices. A curator of various poetry events, she is a member of the Pittsburgh Black Feminist Reading Group and Managing Editor of the Soul Pitt Quarterly Magazine. Penn is also co-curator of “Common Threads: Faith, Activism, and the Art of Healing,” a Pittsburgh-based art exhibit that examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of varying faith traditions.

 

About the facilitator: 

headshot of enzo silon surin

Enzo Silon Surin, Haitian-born poet, educator, speaker, publisher and social advocate, is the author of When My Body Was A Clinched Fist (Black Lawrence PressJuly 2020) and two chapbooks, A Letter of Resignation: An American Libretto (2017) and Higher Ground. He is a PEN New England Celebrated New Voice in Poetry, the recipient of a Brother Thomas Fellowship from The Boston Foundation and a 2020 Denis Diderot [A-i-R] Grant as an Artist-in-Residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux in Orquevaux, France. Surin’s work gives voice to experiences that take place in what he calls “broken spaces” and his poems have been featured in numerous publications and exhibits. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University, teaches creative writing and literature at Bunker Hill Community College and is President and Director of Faraday Publishing. 

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.

2020 Tell It Slant Facebook Video – Black Lives & Black Poetics Matter

2020 Tell It Slant Schedule