Photo of Daisies at Emily's tombstone

Annual Poetry Walk
Saturday, May 15, 11:30am

Annual poetry walk graphic which shows an image of Emily's tombstone with text that reads "Annual Poetry Walk. Saturday, May 15, 11:30 a.m. Presented by the Emily Dickinson Museum and Mass Poetry"

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

“Called Back”: A Virtual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk
Saturday, May 15, 11:30am ET

Days before her death in 1886, Emily Dickinson wrote her final letter, “Little Cousins, / Called Back. / Emily”. On May 15, the 135th anniversary of the poet’s death, join the Emily Dickinson Museum for an engaging virtual poetry reading and “walk” through Amherst, the town she called “paradise.”  At each stop we will see historical and contemporary images of sites of meaning for Dickinson including her garden and conservatory at the Homestead, The Evergreens — home to the poet’s brother and sister-in-law, the town common, Amherst College, and more.  Not a lecture, this program infuses place with poetry. At each stop contemporary poets share their Dickinson-inspired poems and volunteers read Dickinson’s own words aloud. The final stop is Dickinson’s grave in West Cemetery where we will share reflections and a light-hearted virtual toast! This year’s Poetry Walk is part of Mass Poetry‘s 2021 Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

Registration for this program is free or by donation but it is required in advance.

To register for this program with a donation to the Museum, click here. 

A Daisy for Dickinson: Be a part of a beloved tradition of outfitting Emily Dickinson’s final resting place at Amherst’s West Cemetery with fresh daisies on the anniversary of her death.  Make a supporting donation to the Museum in honor of Emily or in memory of someone you’ve loved and lost, and we’ll place a daisy in their name at the poet’s grave as part of this year’s Poetry Walk (May 15).

To register for this program at no cost, click here.

About the participating poets:

Elizabeth Bolton has a PhD in Literacy Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She writes articles, essays and poems about the connection between writing and mental health. She grew up in northern California and now lives in Niagara Falls, Ontario with her husband and two daughters.

Lori Desrosiers’ poetry books are The Philosopher’s DaughterSometimes I Hear the Clock Speak, and Keeping Planes in the Air, all from Salmon Poetry. Two chapbooks, Inner Sky and Typing with e.e. cummings, are from Glass Lyre Press. She edits Naugatuck River Review, a journal of narrative poetry and Wordpeace.co, an online journal dedicated to social justice. http://loridesrosierspoetry.com

Hannah Baker Saltmarsh is the author of the poetry collection, Hysterical Water, published by The University of Georgia Press in March 2021. She has written a book of poetry criticism, entitled Male Poets and the Agon of the Mother: Contexts in Confessional and Post-confessional Poetry (Univ. of South Carolina P., 2019). She is the mother of three children, and lives with her husband in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where she teaches and writes. 

Kate Godin lives in Western Massachusetts, where she tends to the writing needs of a small liberal arts college, a tween and a teen, a vigorous anxiety, and her poetry (which can be found at kategodin.com). She is a graduate of Bates College and the New School for Social Research.

Bonnie Larson Staiger is a North Dakota Associate Poet Laureate, the recipient of the ‘Poetry of the Plains and Prairies Prize (NDSU Press, 2018) and the ‘Independent Press Award: Distinguished Favorite’ (2019) for her collection, Destiny Manifested. Her second book In Plains Sight, is forthcoming from NDSU Press in 2021. www.bonniestaiger.com

Robin Long (@theotherdickinson) is a queer poet and writer from Austin. She is expanding her fiction thesis on Emily Dickinson, The Other Dickinson, and can be found at theotherdickinson.com. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, 2020 National Poetry Month Editor’s Pick, and a digital poetry performer with FEELS Zine.

Siri Palreddy is a first-year at Amherst College, hoping to study both English and Neuroscience. An avid reader, she first discovered Emily Dickinson in high school, and has loved her work ever since. Apart from poetry, Siri enjoys writing creative nonfiction and is compelled by stories that navigate one’s identity (or identities) and roots. When not reading or writing, you can find Siri spending her free time volunteering, laying in the sun, or rewatching her favorite comfort shows. https://siridhatripalreddy.wixsite.com/website-1

Peter Schmitt is the author of six books of poems. “Emily Dickinson and the Boston Red Sox” appears in his new collection, Goodbye, Apostrophe (Regal House). A graduate of Amherst and The Iowa Writers Workshop, he lives and teaches in his hometown of Miami, Florida.  

Don Skoog is a freelance musician, writer, and teacher living in Oak Park, Illinois. He plays Classical percussion and Jazz drums, as well as Latin American, Arabic, and Persian instruments. He authors books and articles on exploring culture through music—the latest, in Arabic, for The University of Chicago’s Majala magazine—and has written four novels (not all of them published yet). The poem Amherst, is from Adventures in the RhythmVerse, his first chapbook. www.contemporarymusicproject.com

Rebecca Starks is the author of the poetry collections Time Is Always Now, a finalist for the 2019 Able Muse Book Award, and Fetch, Muse (forthcoming from Able Muse Press), and is the recipient of Rattle’s 2018 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor. She lives in Richmond, Vermont.  https://rebeccastarks.com

Abigail Price is a 24 year old English poet, writer and Undergraduate student studying Criminology, Criminal Justice and Social Policy at the University of Wolverhampton in England. Most of Abigail’s work is inspired by her past and significantly, nature which aided her recovery from mental illness in her early teenage years. Abigail is an avid writer & reader and her dream is to influence social change through British politics alongside writing beautiful poetry to leave people a little bit better, than when her poems found them. 

 

This program is co-presented with Mass Poetry

Mass Poetry Festival LogoThe Massachusetts Poetry Festival, a biennial event based in Boston, MA, returns May 13-16, 2021 for a virtual showcase featuring 50+ readings panels, workshops, performances and more. Find more information or register for other Festival events today at festival.masspoetry.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.

decorative

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

Headshots of July poets

Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series
Thursday, July 22, 6-7pm

Phosphorescence July 2021 featured poets:
Jacqueline Balderrama, Ida Stewart and Lynne Thompson

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

This program is free of charge, but participants must register in advance and donations are encouraged. 
Click here to register!

To Emily Dickinson, phosphorescence, was a divine spark and the illuminating light behind learning — it was volatile, but transformative in nature. Produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series celebrates contemporary creativity that echoes Dickinson’s own revolutionary poetic voice. The Series features established and emerging poets whose work and backgrounds represent the diversity of the flourishing contemporary poetry scene. The 2021 Series will be a virtual event to ensure the health and safety of participants. While we are disappointed not to gather together in Amherst, we are excited to connect with a global community of friends and writers.  Join us on the last Thursdays of each month to hear from poets around the world as they read their work and discuss what poetry and Dickinson mean to them.

Amherst Books is the preferred book seller for the Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series.

Phosphorescence Lineup 2021

About this month’s poets:

Headshot of poet Jacqueline Balderrama

Jacqueline Balderrama is the author of Now in Color (Perugia Press, 2020) and the chapbook Nectar and Small (Finishing Line Press, 2019). Her poems have received the 2013 Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize, won a 2019 Intro Journal Award, and have been published in Blackbird, Poet Lore, and other journals. She serves as a poetry editor for Iron City Magazine and has been involved in the Letras Latinas literary initiative, the ASU Prison Education Program, and the Wasatch Writers in the Schools. Currently, she’s pursuing a PhD in literature and creative writing at the University of Utah.
jacquelinebalderrama.com

 

 

Headshot of poet Ida StewartIda Stewart is the author of Gloss, winner of the Perugia Press Prize in 2011. Her poems have also appeared in journals including Field, Typo Magazine, and Pool. Two poems from Gloss can be found in Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods, an anthology of West Virginia writers. Ida holds an MFA in creative writing from The Ohio State University and a PhD in English from The University of Georgia. A native of West Virginia, Ida now lives in Philadelphia where she is the managing editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas. “
idastewart.com

 

Headshot Lynne ThompsonLynne Thompson’s most recent collection of poems, Fretwork, was selected by Jane Hirshfield for the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize and published in 2019. A multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, Thompson is the author of Beg No Pardon (Perugia Press, 2007), winner of the Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award, and Start With A Small Guitar (What Books Press) and her work has been widely published and anthologized including in New England Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, Colorado Review, Pleiades, and Best American Poetry 2020, among others. Thompson serves on the Boards of Directors of Cave Canem and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
poetryfoundation.org/poets/lynne-thompson

 

Support Phosphorescence and Honor Someone Special:
Admission to all Phosphorescence 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 our programs. All gifts are tax deductible.

Headshots of June poets

Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series
Thursday, June 24, 6-7pm

Phosphorescence June 2021 featured poets:
Gail Thomas, Nicole M. Young and Amina Jordan Mendez

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

This program is free of charge, but participants must register in advance and donations are encouraged. 
Click here to register!

To Emily Dickinson, phosphorescence, was a divine spark and the illuminating light behind learning — it was volatile, but transformative in nature. Produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series celebrates contemporary creativity that echoes Dickinson’s own revolutionary poetic voice. The Series features established and emerging poets whose work and backgrounds represent the diversity of the flourishing contemporary poetry scene. The 2021 Series will be a virtual event to ensure the health and safety of participants. While we are disappointed not to gather together in Amherst, we are excited to connect with a global community of friends and writers.  Join us on the last Thursdays of each month to hear from poets around the world as they read their work and discuss what poetry and Dickinson mean to them.

Amherst Books is the preferred book seller for the Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series.

Phosphorescence Lineup 2021

About this month’s poets:

Headshot of poet Gail Thomas

Gail Thomas’ books are Odd Mercy, Waving Back, No Simple Wilderness, and Finding the Bear. Her poems have been widely published in more than 50 journals and anthologies including CALYX, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, North American Review, Cumberland River Review, and Mom Egg Review. Among her awards are the Charlotte Mew Prize from Headmistress Press for Odd Mercy, the Narrative Poetry Prize from Naugatuck River Review, and the Massachusetts Center for the Book’s “Must Read” for Waving Back. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and Ucross, and several poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. Recently retired from Smith College, Thomas teaches poetry for the Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshops, speaks at conferences and poetry festivals, and reads her work widely in community and academic settings.
gailthomaspoet.com

Headshot of poet Nicole M. YoungNicole M. Young is a performer, poet, playwright, director, event producer/curator, and nonprofit professional with over 20 years of experience combined in these areas. Nicole has worked across various disciplines, including theatre, poetry, and classical music. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Nicole currently resides in Northern Connecticut and works in Western Massachusetts. Nicole released her debut spoken word album, In/Put:  Live from the Valley in 2019. It was recorded at CLICK Workspace in Northampton, MA in 2018.  Proceeds from the album were used to create a fellowship program for emerging women and nonbinary writers of color through Straw Dog Writers Guild. Nicole is the editor of the chapbook, Locating Me, which is the culmination of a 10-week writing workshop hosted by Attack Bear Press she facilitated in early 2020.  “
nicolemyoung.com

Headshot of poet Amina Jordan MendezAmina Jordan Mendez is a queer poet/performer. She works as a teaching artist for the award winning Enchanted Circle Theater of Holyoke, MA, and is a Ford Tubman Healthy Living Organizer. Her work is focused on community engagement through arts and activism. She is the recipient of the 2020 Emerging Writers Fellowship sponsored by the Straw Dog Writers Guild of Western Massachusetts.

 

 

 

Support Phosphorescence and Honor Someone Special:
Admission to all Phosphorescence 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 our programs. All gifts are tax deductible.

 

Homestead in the snow

Major Restoration Project Launches

The Emily Dickinson Homestead embarks on the next phase of historic restoration. 
This project will restore more of the National Historic Landmark home of one of America’s greatest poets to its period of historic significance.

Homestead in the snow

(Amherst, MA, February 17, 2021) – The Emily Dickinson Museum is embarking on the most significant restoration project to date of the interior architectural features, finishes, and furnishings of the revered poet’s Homestead. The project will also address long-term stabilization with the introduction of new environmental regulating systems in both the Homestead, the historic birthplace and home of Emily Dickinson, and The Evergreens, the Italianate home of Emily’s brother Austin and beloved sister-in-law Susan Gilbert. This work is the first step in an ambitious long range vision that aims to establish the Museum as the premier center for the study and celebration of the life and work of Emily Dickinson.

The project launches at a time of renewed and growing interest in Emily Dickinson and the revolutionary poetic voice she honed from her home in Amherst. Hailed recently as the ‘Original Queen of Social Distancing’, Dickinson and her work have been particularly resonant this past year. New interpretations and citations include Apple TV+’s hit series Dickinson, the new Taylor Swift album Evermore, the intimate work of Nobel Prize winner Louise Glück, and the philanthropy of MacKenzie Scott. The Emily Dickinson Museum has also happily found itself at the center of this buzz, attracting thousands of individuals from nearly 70 countries to its Virtual Programs over the past 6 months alone.

Museum Executive Director Jane Wald says, “We’re of course thrilled with the recent wave of interest in Emily Dickinson, and particularly in the home so intimately connected to her work. The Museum is committed to providing visitors with an increasingly authentic experience of the homes and grounds inhabited by the Dickinson family, and this restoration will have a profound impact on that experience. It will not only triple the amount of restored space in the Homestead accessible to guests, but also add critical details to their understanding of Dickinson’s daily life, especially as we introduce exciting new programs and interpretive themes in the coming years as part of our long range plan.”

Wald indicated that the project is able to kick-off earlier than planned in part because of funding made available through the generosity of the late William McC. Vickery–a longtime board member and champion of the Museum–for just such ‘bricks and mortar’ projects, as well as the Board of Governors’ decision to take advantage of the Museum’s extended COVID-related closure. Construction will last through 2021. While closed for restoration, the Museum will continue to actively engage audiences around the world through its schedule of online programs (EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org/events-news).

The Restoration Plan
With funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, the Emily Dickinson Museum retained Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects to produce a Design Development Report for the original portion of the Homestead built by the poet’s grandfather in 1813. The Museum also retained historic decorative arts consultant Marylou Davis to research, recommend, and, in some cases, reproduce the finishes and decor of the nineteenth-century Homestead. With the completion of work described in these studies, the Homestead will be on its way to being fully restored to its period of mid-nineteenth century historical significance, as Emily Dickinson would have known it.
 
Previous restoration projects – Emily Dickinson’s bedroom, conservatory, family library, and heirloom orchard – have created for visitors dynamic and personal encounters with the poet’s world available nowhere else. This, in addition to the purchase of adjacent property on Triangle Street to house administrative staff, has begun to allow the Homestead to shed multiple functions and regain its authenticity as Emily Dickinson’s own home and creative space.
 
Hallways
Investigation of the hallways has yielded fragments of original period-specific wallpaper, which confirm that Emily Dickinson passed through corridors and open halls decorated in a colorful gothic stylized floral pattern. Paint analysis reveals the precise paint colors for the woodwork. Restoring their authentic nineteenth-century appearance on the first and second floors of the Homestead, will reinstate the largest canvasses portraying the atmosphere of the home.
 
Parlors
The restored parlors will recapture the essentials of the Dickinsons’ daily life and interests in music, needlework, reading, art, civic and business affairs, and entertaining. The rooms will be decorated, as reported by Emily Dickinson’s niece, in wallpaper “white with large figures” and a carpet woven with “a great basket of flowers, from which roses were spilling all over the floor to a border of more flowers at the edge.” They will be furnished with items acquired at the time of Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson’s marriage in 1828, as well as those acquired to keep their home reasonably in step with fashion.
 
Northwest Chamber
The second-floor northwest chamber adjacent to Emily’s room, the space where her mother, Emily Norcross Dickinson, spent the last years of her life, will include the reproduction of wallpaper based on found fragments, removal of modern floorboards, furnishing with Dickinson family artifacts, among other details. The restored northwest chamber will illuminate nuanced family relationships and the significance of health and healthcare in Dickinson’s life.
 
Implementation of Environmental Regulating Systems
The Homestead and The Evergreens will be equipped with new heating and cooling systems that will provide the level of temperature and humidity control that historic house museums need to protect their collections. The new systems will replace aging and limited residential systems and will contribute to the Museum’s long-term preservation and stewardship goals. “With behind-the-scenes installation of mechanical systems taken care of,” said Wald, “we’ll be able to focus on the fascinating work of further restoration and educational programming.” 

Project Resources

For press-approved images, please visit: bit.ly/EDMRestorationPhotos
For additional images, please reach out to publicrelations@emilydickinsonmuseum.org
 
This phase of the project has been funded in part by a generous gift from the late William McC. Vickery (Amherst College ‘57) and in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
 
The next and final phase of the Homestead restoration project will return the property’s service wing (kitchen, laundry, and servants’ quarters) and east addition (dining room and bedchamber) to their period of historic significance at an estimated cost of $1M. Fundraising is underway for this and other projects outlined in the Museum’s recently approved Long Range Plan. 
 
We welcome partners interested in helping us build capacity for this important phase of the Dickinson Homestead Restoration. Make a donation today to make this work possible.
 
ABOUT THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM
The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens is dedicated to sparking the imagination by amplifying Emily Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice from the place she called home.
 
Owned by the Trustees of Amherst College, the Emily Dickinson Museum is overseen by a separate Board of Governors and is responsible for raising its own operating and capital funding. 
 
The Emily Dickinson Museum is a member of Museums10, a collaboration of ten museums linked to the Five Colleges in the Pioneer Valley—Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Headshots of May poets

Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series
Thursday, May 27, 6-7pm

Phosphorescence May 2021 featured poets:
Melissa Range and Erica Charis-Molling

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

This program is free of charge, but participants must register in advance and donations are encouraged. 
Click here to register!

To Emily Dickinson, phosphorescence, was a divine spark and the illuminating light behind learning — it was volatile, but transformative in nature. Produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series celebrates contemporary creativity that catches the spark of Dickinson’s own radiant poetic voice. The Series features established and emerging poets whose work and backgrounds represent the diversity of the flourishing contemporary poetry scene. The 2021 Series will be a virtual event to ensure the health and safety of participants. While we are disappointed not to gather together in Amherst, we are excited to connect with a global community of friends and writers.  Join us on the last Thursdays of each month to hear from poets around the world as they read their work and discuss what poetry and Dickinson mean to them.

Amherst Books is the preferred book seller for the Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series.

Phosphorescence Lineup 2021

About this month’s poets:

Headshot of poet Melissa RangeMelissa Range is the author of two collections of poetry: Scriptorium, a winner of the 2015 National Poetry Series (Beacon Press, 2016), and Horse and Rider, a winner of the Walt McDonald Prize (Texas Tech University Press, 2010). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Ecotone, The Iowa Review, The Nation, Ploughshares, and Poetry.  Range is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Originally from East Tennessee, she teaches creative writing and American literature at Lawrence University in Wisconsin.
melissarange.com

 

Headshot of poet Erica Charis Molling

Erica Charis-Molling is a lesbian poet, educator, and librarian. Her writing has been published in literary journals including Tinderbox, Redivider, Vinyl, and Entropy, among others. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Orison anthology. Her chapbook, “How We Burn” has been a finalist in the Frontier Poetry and Orison Press contests. A Mass Cultural Council Fellow, she’s an alum of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Antioch University.
ericacharis-molling.squarespace.com

 

Support Phosphorescence and Honor Someone Special:
Admission to all Phosphorescence 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 our programs. All gifts are tax deductible.

My Emily Dickinson:
Video Gallery and Story Collecting Project

In honor of Emily Dickinson’s 190th birthday in December of 2020, the Museum collected your stories from around the world. So many of us feel a deep connection to Dickinson’s life, her poetry, or to both. Some of us read her work as young students in school and become curious about the woman who lowered gingerbread from her window; others of us do not find Dickinson until we are older and her poetry’s themes of loss and hope begin to resonate profoundly; still others find that Dickinson’s wit and fierce individuality is a touchstone. This project sought to document the many Emily Dickinsons that exist in the hearts of contemporary readers. We received fifty participant videos from as close as Amherst to as far away as Albania. 

This video gallery offers a range of perspectives on Dickinson from a diverse group of her readers who generously shared their stories of strange Dickinson encounters, first meetings, and deeply felt connection. We are very grateful to these story-tellers and we hope you enjoy their collective message of Dickinson’s enduring relevance in our lives today.

 

Text from poem fr660: "I Took my Power in my Hand - And went against The World -"

Statement in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Text from poem fr660: "I Took my Power in my Hand - And went against The World -"

 

This statement was originally released on June 3rd 2020:

Today, in our distress over recent devastating events, we stand with our community and with the Black Lives Matter movement against racial injustice and inequality. We recognize that real change is necessary both in our country and in our museum.⁣

We believe that museums are not neutral: they should be part of public conversations on contemporary issues such as racism, injustice, and oppression. Museums have long been institutions that hold and reflect cultural values and collective memory. Now, they have an even greater responsibility to be active participants in challenging age-old and contemporary systems of oppression. ⁣

Like other museums, the Emily Dickinson Museum has a duty to examine the history it teaches and to expand the stories it tells. Emily Dickinson lived through a catastrophic Civil War rooted in racial injustice and oppression. Her family was part of a society that benefited from the labor of immigrants, African Americans, and Native Americans in service to a privileged White majority. The poet’s literary work was made possible by the labor of these domestic servants. The Emily Dickinson Museum strives to tell this full story. Our new interpretive plan will place greater emphasis on the perspectives of Irish, Native American, and free Black workers in the Dickinson households, making plain issues of race and class in Dickinson family daily life. ⁣

At the Emily Dickinson Museum we recognize that this interpretive work is but one step in the greater effort to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and access for audiences, staff, and leadership in institutions like ours. Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice became an agent of change, both in the literary canon and in the lives of individuals who find depths of meaning in her account of our human condition. As an institution, we are committed to the continuous work of change that museums can and should be doing to build an equitable society.

vickery

Exciting News of an Extraordinary Gift

THE EMILY DICKINSON MUSEUM RECEIVES A $22 MILLION GIFT AS PART OF A $25 MILLION BEQUEST TO AMHERST COLLEGE FROM THE LATE WILLIAM MCC. VICKERY ‘57

The Endowed Gift, the Largest Ever Received by the Museum, is to be Used for the Maintenance and Improvement of Its Buildings, Grounds and Collections

The Remainder Will Fund the Maintenance of Pianos for the College’s Music Department

(AMHERST, Mass., June 5, 2019) — Amherst College today announced a gift of approximately $25 million from the late William McC. Vickery ’57 to the College’s endowment, approximately $22 million of which is designated for use by the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Mass. The transformative gift, the largest ever received by the museum, will be known as the “William McCall Vickery ’57 Emily Dickinson Fund” and is specifically earmarked for the maintenance and improvement of its buildings, grounds and collections. Vickery, who was a devoted Amherst alumnus, volunteer, employee and supporter, also was a founding member of the Dickinson Museum’s board of governors.

The Emily Dickinson Museum was founded in 2003 when the neighboring house, The Evergreens, a 19th-century Dickinson home, was transferred to the College. (The Dickinson Homestead has been owned by the College since 1965.). Today, the Museum includes those two historic structures, three acres of the original Dickinson landscape, and more than 7,000 objects. The Museum, a part of Amherst College, earns and raises independently the majority of its own resources.

Of Vickery’s gift, Amherst College President Biddy Martin said, “There was no aspect of Amherst’s mission that did not interest him, no area of the College that did not benefit from his energetic, wry, and deeply insightful engagement. His gift to the Emily Dickinson Museum is a gift to us all and to generations to come, as is his gift to the College’s Department of Music. Bill understood and he helped ensure that the poetry and music that were special to him will remain at the heart of Amherst.”

A pivotal figure in the Museum’s advancement over the last 16 years, “Bill Vickery truly cherished the Emily Dickinson Museum,” said Executive Director Jane Wald. “He was acutely aware of the importance—and possibility—of restoring Emily Dickinson’s Homestead, her brother’s house, The Evergreens, and the historic gardens and grounds. He was at the lead in every undertaking for the Museum’s improvement, and his quiet enthusiasm was infectious and never deterred. His transformative gift will enable the Museum to become the true center of celebration of Emily Dickinson’s life and work.”

Part of the Vickery’s gift will be used to create the “William McCall Vickery ’57 Piano Fund” to fund the restoring, rebuilding, repairing and purchasing of pianos for the College’s music department. A patron of the music program at Amherst, in 2007, in honor of his 50th reunion, Vickery endowed The William McCall Vickery 1957 Professorship, honoring a senior faculty member who is distinguished by and dedicated to teaching and research of art history or musicology.

John Beeson ‘71, chair of the Board of Governors, said, “Bill’s extraordinary legacy gift will inspire others to support a wide range of projects related both to historic preservation and to the continued expansion of key programs about Emily Dickinson’s life and significance. It will require that continued support to help realize the full potential of Bill Vickery’s vision.”

Born in Savannah, Ga., Vickery attended Ridgewood High School in New Jersey. At Amherst College, he majored in economics and graduated cum laude. After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School, he launched a 27-year career in advertising with Dancer Fitzgerald Sample in New York City. In 1987, Vickery retired as vice chair of the company’s board and chair of DFS International. The year following his retirement, Vickery began his “second career” at his alma mater, holding positions in Advancement and as assistant treasurer until his retirement in 2008. Throughout his life, Vickery contributed generously to more than 26 individual funds at Amherst College, including the Russian Culture Fund, the Robert Frost Statue Fund, the squash courts renovation fund, the Orchestra Fund, the women’s basketball program, and the Choral Society, and he endowed the William McCall Vickery 1957 Professor of the History of Art.

Throughout the years, Vickery’s philanthropy set an example and inspired others to support the Emily Dickinson Museum. He served on its collections and physical plant committee and development committee and was a generous supporter of the Museum’s operations and restoration projects, including the campaign to restore Emily Dickinson’s bedroom in 2014, which Vickery led and championed.

“My husband, Hubbard, and I shared a wonderful friendship with Bill for most of our lives,” said Linda Smith, a member of the Museum’s Board of Governors. “He led us and many others into supporting the Emily Dickinson Museum in so many ways. He believed in the truth and enduring nature of Dickinson’s poetry, and he demonstrated his commitment to the Museum’s future over and over again by his extraordinary generosity.” 

Since its inception, the Museum has welcomed more than 150,000 visitors from 50 countries and serves as the premier center for study, interpretation, and celebration of Emily Dickinson’s place in literature, history, and culture. This generous gift will support the Museum in furthering its mission to spark the imagination by amplifying Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice from the place she called home. The Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn more at www.EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org.

Amherst College prepares students to use ideas to make a difference in the world. Since its founding, in 1821, in Western Massachusetts, Amherst has demonstrated steadfast confidence in the value of the liberal arts and the importance of critical thinking. Today, its financial aid program is among the most substantial in the nation, and its student body is among the most diverse. Small classes, an open curriculum and a singular focus on undergraduate education ensure that leading scholars engage daily with talented, curious students, equipping them for leadership in an increasingly global and complex world. The College will celebrate its bicentennial in 2021.