poetry walk

2021 Tell It Slant Poetry Festival Call for Proposals

The Emily Dickinson Museum is now accepting proposals for the ninth annual Tell It Slant Poetry Festival (formerly the Amherst Poetry Festival), A VIRTUAL EVENT held September 20-26, 2021! 

Produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, with support from the Amherst Business Improvement District, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and 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 name “Tell It Slant” (new in 2020), was selected in homage to Dickinson’s poem, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” This title underscores 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 flourishing contemporary American poetry scene, and to fostering community by placing poetry in the public sphere. To see our 2020 Festival schedule click here.

The Festival Steering Committee is planning a virtual event to ensure the health and safety of participants. While we are disappointed not to gather together in Amherst, we find (as always) that Dickinson offers inspiration. Dickinson was an engaging correspondent, whose epistolary poems connected her to a wider community of friends and writers. 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. We invite you to “dwell in possibility” and submit your most inventive proposals for  audience-centered workshops, panel discussions, and programs.

We are privileging proposals for live, synchronous content, but will also consider asynchronous submissions. Synchronous content includes virtual programs or experiences, including performances, live panels and workshops. Asynchronous content might include a web exhibit or pre-recorded content premiering at the Poetry Festival.

The Steering Committee especially welcomes the following:

  • Submissions from groups of 2 – 5 facilitators
  • Submissions that engage young attendees and those new to poetry
  • Submissions that creatively encourage audience participation or that foster a sense of community or space

Honoraria are provided per event. 

Proposals should be designed for one of the following program slots: (Individuals may submit separate forms if proposing more than one program)


  • Daytime poetry workshops, panels, or participatory programs open to the public. Event sessions are typically 60- to 90-minutes long.
  • $250 honoraria offered per event.


  • Evening music, theater, dance, or other performance open to the public. Submissions should be for 60- to 90-minute programs.
  • $500 honorarium offered per event.

HIGH SCHOOL WORKSHOPS (to be scheduled during the school day between Monday, September 20th and Friday, September 24th):

  • Private poetry workshops for classes of high school age students (grades 9-12). 45-minute sessions, to be offered up to four times between 7:50am to 3pm. Partner schools will be shared with selected poets and will include schools in Hampshire and Hampden counties.
  • $350 honorarium is offered for the day’s workshops.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Only submissions made in the online form will be considered. There is no fee to submit proposals.
  • Following your submission, please email your resume/cv to edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org. 
    • Include “POETRY FESTIVAL SUBMISSION” in the title of the e-mail. We can accept .pdf, .doc, .docx files.
      If applicable, you may also submit an image in .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, and .png format.
  • Selected facilitators will be notified by July 23rd and will be asked to sign a letter of agreement confirming their participation in the Festival.
  • Submissions Due: Thursday, July 15, 2021, 11:59 pm EST.

Submissions will be judged on the following:

  • Originality – Is your idea bold and intriguing? Will it offer something new to our Festival?
  • Quality – Does the submission reflect thoughtful preparation? How are you uniquely qualified to facilitate this program?
  • Audience – Have you clearly outlined participatory elements? How does your proposal contribute to community-building for the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival? 
  • Special consideration will be given to Pioneer Valley and Massachusetts-based facilitators.


Questions? Email us at edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

Postcard of Emily Dickinson inspired watercolor painting


Postcard verso:

Here’s an original watercolor I made
inspired by Emily Dickinson. Lately my
favorite poem of hers is this:
            ~ a SERVICE OF SONG ~
Some keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.

Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.

God preaches, – a noted clergyman, –
And the sermon is never long;
So instead of getting to heaven at last
I’m going all along!
It reminds of a childhood favorite author of
mine, Ethel Cook Eliot, also from Western
Massachusetts who wrote about spirituality
in nature (in fairy-tales for kids.)


Postcard featuring collage, map of Memphis

A Letter From Memphis

Postcard verso:

Dear Emily, I am the World .. writing
back to you. We are one .. I’m glad you
got to see .. the beauty in simplicity.
Nature gifted you with faith .. you are the
Majesty. Committment is a Message.
Gods hands have held you dearly …
as you hugged yourself .. you are her.
You are the Love. Judgement does 
not define your heart. Countrymen see
you in the sky: you are the news that
nature told. Simply healing your spirit,

              <3 Jessica Gershon

Color postcard from Finland


Postcard verso, page left:

Dear Emily —
Due to a postal strike here in
Finland, I’ve not been able to
send this, so it’s probably going
to be late … but thank you —
kiitos! for your beautiful words
and inspiration, which continue
to bring joy and comfort to
me and many others around
the world. 
                    With admiration,
                    Luida Jainsén (first name? last name?)

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Color postcard of Alba, Italy

from Italia

Postcard verso:

                                 Nov. 19, 2019

Thank you Emily for keeping us good
company from the eternity…
I visited the Museum in 2015 and I
loved it and Amherst, too —
     Impossibility, like Wine
     Exhilarates the Man
     Who tastes it; Possibility
     Is flavorless — Combine
     A Chance’s faintest tincture
     And in the former Dram
     Enchantment makes ingredient
     As certainly as Doom.
Ciao !!! from Italia and the land of
                        vineyards and wines.
                        Francesca Toppino (last name?)


Postcard from Tarquinia

Ashore at last!

Postcard verso, page left:

Nov. 6 2019

Dear Emily —
     When I visited 
the Etruscan Tombs
last year, I gazed at
the 2500+ years old
cemeteries and thought of
your words:
        “Land, ho! Eternity!
         Ashore at last!”
             With love —
         Terri Elders

Postcard verso, page right:

#Postcards To Emily

Postcard of ferris wheel and eiffle tower

a chin of gold

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We are a godson & godmother
Team. Rai is 11 years old
and discovered Emily work
when his mom home schooled
him. He loves the poem
“the moon is but a chin
of gold. I became enamored 
with Emily in the 4th grade.
We are wishing Emily a very
Happy Birthday!
     Rai-ben & Susane Pedo (first name? last name?)

Color postcard of countryside and Irish thank you

kindred spirit

Postcard verso:


Here sits a kindred spirit,
100 years away,
3000 miles between our worlds
And yet by Destiny —
I found your words, Compassion breathes —
New life into this soul
Now as you rest with Angels
Your Little Birds still sing!





Color postcard of Wroclaw landmarks

The morning dew and The wild grass

Postcard verso:

The morning dew
The wild grass

You are the romantic morning dew
and I am the wild grass
every morning I wake up with a
crown on my head
a beautiful crystal drop!
You risk your life to be with me
because we both know —
the sun will kill you…
∼ NI made Rimawati – Stach (last name?)

Emily, you inspired me to be a poet <3

Postcard of New York skyline at sunset


Postcard verso:

I was named after E.D.,
attended the same college she
did, and have also found
comfort in words. She has
always been a constant in
my life. Affectionately, Emily I.
The bittersweet memories return
after a long winter’s nap.
Nostalgia’s hibernation
has come to a close.
The buddings of Forget-Me-Nots
Heartache yawns as it pulls
itself out of its warm, lonely home
carved out of footprints.
                  And the familiar feeling
                  of the familiar leaves the
                  air stale with the grip of déjà vu.      -E.I.