Logo for PHOSPHORESCENCE reading series featuring the Homestead glowing at night

Phosphorescence Contemporary Poetry Series
Thursday, July 25, 6pm ET

Phosphorescence July 2024 featured poets:
Rosa Lane and Patrick Donnelly

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

This virtual program is free to attend. Registration is required. 

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 Contemporary Poetry 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. Join us on a Thursday evening each month to hear from poets around the world as they read their work and discuss what poetry and Dickinson mean to them.


About this month’s poets:

headshot of poet Rosa LaneRosa Lane, poet and architect, is author of four poetry collections including Called Back, a theatrical monologue in tribute to Emily Dickinson imagined (forthcoming September 2024, Tupelo Press); Chouteau’s Chalk (winner, 2017 Georgia Poetry Prize); Tiller North (winner, 2017 National Indie Excellence Award, Sixteen Rivers Press); and Roots and Reckonings, a chapbook that speaks to the generational and native culture of her coastal Maine fishing village. Her work won the 2023 Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Prize, a Maine Literary Award, and the William Matthews Poetry Prize among other awards. In addition to her MFA at Sarah Lawrence, Lane earned a 2nd master’s and PhD in sustainable architecture at UC Berkeley. She splits her time between her native home in coastal Maine and the San Francisco Bay Area where she lives with her wife. rosalane.com

 


headshot of poet Patrick DonnellyAbout Patrick Donnelly, Gregory Orr wrote “everything he writes is suffused with tenderness and intelligence, lucidity and courage.” Donnelly is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Willow Hammer (Four Way Books, 2025), and Little-Known Operas (Four Way Books, 2019). Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2012), was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. Donnelly is Program Director of The Frost Place, Robert Frost’s old homestead in Franconia, NH, now a center for poetry and the arts, as well as Director of The Frost Place Poetry Seminar. Donnelly’s translations with Stephen D. Miller of classical Japanese poetry were awarded the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature by Columbia University. Donnelly’s other awards include a U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program Award, an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and an Amy Clampitt Residency Award. A former Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, Donnelly’s poetry explores topics like same-sex love and desire and the AIDS epidemic with lyric strategies. patrickdonnellypoetry.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.

3 people on a tour of Dickinson's bedroom

FREE Day
Highland Street August Adventures
Weds., August 14

IN-PERSON PROGRAM
3 people on a tour of Dickinson's bedroom

Photo by Lynne Graves

Join us for FREE admission to the Emily Dickinson Museum sponsored by Highland Street Foundation. Space is limited, register in advance.

Navigate to August 14 and select your timed entry to reserve your free Museum tickets! Find more information on guided and general admission experiences here.

RESERVE YOUR TICKETS

Special Program: 2PM-3PM Crafts and Conversation with illustrator Tatyana Feeney
Enjoy crafts and conversation with celebrated illustrator Tatyana Feeney, whose newest work illustrates Emily Dickinson’s poem ‘Hope is the thing with Feathers‘. Discover the joy of poetry in this simple introduction to Emily Dickinson, celebrating the power of hope perched within and the promise of sunnier days. Originally written in 1861, this enduring poem is now accessible to early learners. Books will be available for sale in the Museum’s gift shop.

 

Image of the cover of Tatyana Feeney's illustrated 'Hope is the Thing with Feathers'. A little girl walking outside under a rainbow, a bird perches on her umbrella overhead.Tatyana Feeney grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and spent a lot of her early childhood going to the library and listening to stories. She still loves books and reads as much as she can in her free time. She is now based in County Meath, Ireland where she spends a lot of time working on illustrations and new story ideas. Most of her artwork is done using monoprinting but she often adds collage or watercolor to the finished pieces. Her books have been nominated for several awards including: The UKLA Book Award, the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize, and the Kate Greenway Medal. Little Owl’s Orange Scarf was the winner of the Rotherham Children’s Book Award in the Picture Book Category in 2014. Her artwork has been exhibited in Dublin, Belfast, Vienna, Bologna, London and The Hague. Illustrations from Small Elephant’s Bathtime were included in the Society of Illustrator’s Original Art Exhibition 2015. In addition to children’s books, she has also provided illustrations for CD covers, magazines, greeting cards and websites. Learn more at tatyanafeeney.com

 

About August Adventures

August Adventures, modeled after Highland Street’s long-standing Free Fun Fridays program, will provide enriching opportunities for individuals, children, and families across the Commonwealth. From children’s museums, to art, to science and history, there is something for everyone.

“As we celebrate our 35th anniversary this year, we are excited to partner with such a wide array of institutions, all of which add to the incredibly rich cultural fabric of our Commonwealth,” said Highland Street’s Executive Director Blake Jordan. “Increasing access and opening doors to wide and diverse audiences are shared goals of all of us and we hope to welcome many visitors during August Adventures.” The August Adventures program offers opportunities throughout the Commonwealth, from Greater Boston to Cape Cod, and out to Central and Western Massachusetts.

To learn more about August Adventures and the Highland Street Foundation, visit highlandstreet.org

About Highland Street Foundation
Founded in 1989, the Highland Street Foundation is committed to addressing the most pressing needs and concerns for children and families in Massachusetts. Highland Street Foundation provides access and opportunities in education, housing, mentorship, health care, environment, and the arts.

graphic delve into dickinson - Through the Dark Sod – as Education –

Through the Dark Sod – as Education
Reading & Teaching Dickinson’s Poems
Thursday, August 22, 6:30pm ET

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

graphic delve into dickinson - Through the Dark Sod – as Education –For any questions, please e-mail edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

Registration is required for this virtual program and is offered on a sliding scale from $5 – $20.
Please select the ticket price that is right for you, and consider supporting the Museum and the participation of other educators through your purchase. Tickets are non-refundable.

Professional Development certificates are available upon request — please e-mail edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum if you are interested.

REGISTER

Through the Dark Sod – as Education –
The Lily passes sure –
Feels her white foot – no trepidation –
Her faith – no fear –
Afterward – in the Meadow –
Swinging her Beryl Bell –
The Mold-life – all forgotten – now –
In Extasy – and Dell – (Fr559)

If poets are “the unacknowledged legislators of the world,” as Shelley asserted (The Defence of Poetry), they are also the most underrepresented writers in the literature curriculum in many schools. Poetry is intimidating to many students—and to many teachers, too—because, unlike the Lily, we don’t always “pass sure” through the “Dark Sod” of convoluted diction, unfamiliar allusions, and concentrated ideas that characterize many poems.Like our students, we crave certainty and control.

The poems of Emily Dickinson can be especially challenging for students and teachers because, despite their simplicity of form, they deny straightforward readings or unified interpretations. But if we can learn to read with “no trepidation,” delving into Dickinson’s complexities can be a true delight, an opportunity for students and teachers alike to “swing their Beryl Bells” in “Extasy.”

In this workshop, we will read several poems together, developing our tolerance for ambiguity and sharing methods that help students overcome their fears of “getting it wrong” when they discuss Dickinson’s work. Using simple protocols, we will explore strategies for decoding the paraphrasable content of the poems, interpreting their evocative language, and making personal connections through low-stakes writing and discussion. We will also consider various approaches to choosing Dickinson poems for study and developing curriculum units.


headshot of a man with white hair, mustache, beard and glasses

Bruce M. Penniman, Ed.D., taught writing, speech, and literature at Amherst Regional High School for 36 years and is still an advisor to the Sene-Gambian Scholars exchange program there. He served as Site Director of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project at University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he has taught numerous graduate courses for teachers. In 1999 he was named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and finalist for National Teacher of the Year, and he is the author of Building the English Classroom: Foundations, Support, Success (NCTE, 2009). He has been a teacher curriculum mentor in all four NEH Emily Dickinson: Person, Poetry, and Place workshops and has facilitated discussions for the Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion Group on topics ranging from “Emily Dickinson and the Bible” to “Emily Dickinson and Science.”


Questions?
Email edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

Marta Macdowell and a volunteer work in Dickinson's garden

Summer Garden Days 2024
July – October

IN-PERSON PROGRAM

My Garden — like the Beach —
Denotes there be — a Sea —
That’s Summer —
Such as These — the Pearls
She fetches — such as Me

-Fr429

The Emily Dickinson Museum gardens call for maintenance all season long! Come be a part of the cultivation and growth of the historic Dickinson family landscape. Join a small group of volunteers for a Monday morning of Summer or Fall tending. Participants will help to weed, deadhead, plant new annuals, and more. Gardeners of all experience levels are welcome!

2024 Garden Sessions:
  • July 29th  9am – 12pm ET
  • August 26th  9am – 12pm ET
  • October 7th  9am – 12pm ET

Spots are limited; advance registration is required.

To register for one or more sessions, please email edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org with your name and the date you wish to volunteer. Staff will be in touch to confirm your participation.

DETAILS:
Garden sessions will take place rain or shine! In extreme conditions, sessions may be canceled or rescheduled to the following Friday. Participants are expected to stay for the duration of their session.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring the following if they have them:

  • Gloves
  • Clean hand trowel and clippers
  • Bucket
  • Kneeling pad
  • Water bottle
  • Snack
  • Comfortable footwear
  • Sun protection

This in-person program is free to attend. Please email for session availability.

Want to join our garden volunteer mailing list to be the first to learn about future opportunities? Let us know at edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org.

Logo for PHOSPHORESCENCE reading series featuring the Homestead glowing at night

Phosphorescence Contemporary Poetry Series
Thursday, August 15, 6pm ET

Phosphorescence August 2024 featured poets:
Omotara James, Willie Lee Kinard III, and Joshua Jennifer Espinoza

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

This virtual program is free to attend. Registration is required. 

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 Contemporary Poetry 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. Join us on a Thursday evening each month to hear from poets around the world as they read their work and discuss what poetry and Dickinson mean to them.


About this month’s poets:

headshot of poet Omotara JamesOmotara James is a writer, editor and visual artist. She 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. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she is a recipient of the 2019 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize. She earned her BA from Hofstra University and received her MFA from New York University. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, The Academy of American Poets and elsewhere. She is a fellow of Lambda Literary and Cave Canem Foundation. Born in Britain, she is the daughter of Nigerian and Trinidadian immigrants and currently lives in New York City. omotarajames.com

 

 


headshot of poet Willie Lee Kinard IIIWillie Lee Kinard III is a Black nonbinary poet, designer, educator & musician forged in Newberry, South Carolina. Holding an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Pittsburgh, their musings include gospel surrealism, Black romance & superstition. A Fellow of The Watering Hole & a Pushcart Prize nominee, their written work appears (or will soon) in Obsidian, Poem-a-Day, Best New Poets, The Rumpus, & elsewhere. williekinard.com

 

 

 


headshot of poet Joshua Jennifer EspinozaJoshua Jennifer Espinoza is a transsexual poet. Her work has been featured in Poetry Magazine, The American Poetry Review, Split Lip Magazine, Gulf Coast Journal, The Southeast Review, MoMA Magazine, and elsewhere. She is the author of I’m Alive / It Hurts / I Love It (2019) and THERE SHOULD BE FLOWERS (2016). She holds an MFA in poetry from UC Riverside and is currently a professor of creative writing. Jennifer lives in California with her wife, poet/essayist Eileen Elizabeth, and their cat and dog. joshuajenniferespinoza.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.

a view of different items in the Emily Dickinson Museum's collections

The Emily Dickinson Museum Collection

a view of different items in the Emily Dickinson Museum's collections

Press Release 9/13/23
The Emily Dickinson Museum's collection is the largest and most diverse assemblage of objects associated with Emily Dickinson and her family to be found anywhere. It consists of more than 8,000 artifacts, including fine art such as an impressive collection of Hudson River school paintings; cooking, dining, lighting, and heating artifacts; personal items such as children’s toys, handwork, and musical instruments; souvenir objects and art from travels abroad; and a large assortment of clothing and textiles. The collection captures the details of nineteenth-century life in a semi-rural educational and agricultural community and vividly illustrates the daily life and writing habits of one of the world’s greatest poets.

The Museum’s collection had remained largely undocumented and inaccessible until a major grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services in 2019 funded the documentation and baseline cataloging of the entire collection for the very first time. Completed in 2023, this project has improved collection care and, through this database, public access has strengthened the museum’s interpretation, and opened promising new research opportunities.

 

SEARCH THE COLLECTION (external webpage)

FAQS

What is the history of the collections?
The EDM collection comprises the combined personal effects of Dickinson family members from the Dickinson Homestead (built 1813) and The Evergreens (built 1856), left at the latter house after the death of the family’s last heir in 1988. Dickinson’s niece, Martha Dickinson Bianchi, sold the Homestead in 1916 and moved her aunt’s personal belongings and household furnishings next door to her own home at The Evergreens. Bianchi’s heirs transferred manuscript material, books, and a few dozen objects associated with Emily Dickinson to Harvard University in 1950 and Brown University in 1993. The vast majority of Dickinson family possessions remained at The Evergreens, overseen between 1988 and 2003 by a private testamentary trust established in Bianchi’s name. The Trust transferred the property and  collection to Amherst College in 2003 so that the two neighboring Dickinson family houses and collections could be operated as a united Emily Dickinson Museum.

A photo of a women in 19th century clothing in a decorative gold rimmed locket.
Close-up of Emily Dickinson's shawl
Pembroke Style Drop Leaf Table
Daguerreotype of Susan Gilbert Dickinson
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Shawl
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Pembroke Style Drop Leaf Table - Collections
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Where can I find Dickinson manuscripts or other material?

To view Dickinson's manuscripts, visit www.edickinson.org

For information on other Dickinson repositories:

Houghton Library, Harvard University

Amherst College Special Collections

Brown University Library

Yale University Library

Boston Public Library

Amherst Historical Society

Jones Library

Who can I contact with questions?
Email collections@emilydickinsonmuseum.org with any questions about the collections or online catalog.

How can I access the collections?
Physical access to the collections is very limited at this time. Email Collections@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org with questions.

Use of these images must be approved by the Emily Dickinson Museum.
Please contact us at: Info@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org

Institute of Museum and Library Services logo

The Emily Dickinson Museum has received funding for collection documentation from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. They advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grant making, research, and policy development. Their vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov.

graphic delve into dickinson - Dwelling in Possibility

Dwelling in Possibility
The Pleasurable Path of What if Poems
Thurs., November 21, 6:30pm ET

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

graphic delve into dickinson - Dwelling in PossibilityFor any questions, please e-mail edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

Registration is required for this virtual program and is offered on a sliding scale from $5 – $20.
Please select the ticket price that is right for you, and consider supporting the Museum and the participation of other educators through your purchase. Tickets are non-refundable.

REGISTER

Amid her many unforgettable poems, a surprising number of Emily Dickinson’s poems begin with an “IF”. 

If she had been the Mistletoe/ And I had been the Rose/ How gay upon your table/ My velvet life to close

If pain for peace prepares/ Lo what “Augustan” years— 

If I should die/ And you should live/ And time should gurgle on— 

These iffy openings not only destabilizes the present, it opens the poem to the richness and pleasure of multiple imaginative  realms.  Yet how does the “if” help us read Dickinson, and poetry more broadly? If we began our own writing with an if, what words or worlds might we discover?  In this workshop, we’ll examine Dickinson, as well as other poets across time,  looking at poems that begin in speculative space, exploring how we too might write poems that begin in surprise and motor towards wisdom, or delight. Our time will include close reading, discussion, and prompts.


Headshot of Tess Taylor

Headshot of Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor is the author of five acclaimed collections of poetry including Work & Days, which was named one of the 10 best books of poetry of 2016 by the New York Times. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, Tin House, The Times Literary Supplement, CNN, and the New York Times. Taylor has been Distinguished Fulbright US Scholar at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen’s University in Northern Ireland, and the Anne Spencer Poet-in-Residence at Randolph College. She has also served as on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered for over a decade. Taylor lives in El Cerrito, California, where she tends to fruit trees and backyard chickens.

 


Questions?
Email edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

graphic delve into dickinson - It feels a shame to be Alive -

It feels a shame to be Alive
Dickinson and the Civil War
Weds., October 16, 6:30pm ET

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

graphic delve into dickinson - It feels a shame to be Alive -For any questions, please e-mail edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

Registration is required for this virtual program and is offered on a sliding scale from $5 – $20.
Please select the ticket price that is right for you, and consider supporting the Museum and the participation of other educators through your purchase. Tickets are non-refundable.

REGISTER

It feels a shame to be Alive –
When Men so brave – are dead –
One envies the Distinguished Dust –
Permitted – such a Head –
(fragment Fr524)

Although myths about Emily Dickinson portray her removed from the issues of her day, current scholarship proves that Dickinson was profoundly concerned with and affected by the issues that caused the American Civil War and wrote many poems about them, such as this one, which implicates the speaker directly in a kind of survivor’s guilt. In fact, in the summer of 2020 as we began to write poems about the Black Lives Matter movements, we looked to Dickinson’s extensive Civil War poems for inspiration about this earlier social movement to liberate Black lives. The result is our co-written collection of poems, Within Flesh: In Conversation with Our Selves and Emily Dickinson, published in 2024. Written by a Muslim man of Iranian descent and a Jewish woman from Brooklyn, it offers a unique three-way conversation over space and time about the history of social injustices and how we begin to repair ourselves and the broken world.

We will frame this seminar with readings from Within Flesh to illustrate how Dickinson’s poems facilitated our creative work on contemporary issues and can provide the impetus for your students to think deeply about the world around them. Our goal is to provide you with materials for a unit or assignment on Dickinson and the War as a mirror for exploring social movements of our own time. As a resource, we will use two posts from Ivy’s year-long and freely-accessible blog, “White Heat: Emily Dickinson in 1862”, which explores the Battle of Antietam and the use of photography (the new social medium of the day, which radically changed the reach and effect of the war.) We will discuss how to contextualize Dickinson’s war poetry, the poetic strategies she used to represent the war, and her recurring themes and images. We will end with a few of our poetic “conversations” as examples.


Joint headshot for poets Al Salehi and Ivy SchweitzerBorn in Southern California, Al Salehi is a multilingual American poet and entrepreneur of Persian descent who lives in Orange County with a background in technology. Al graduated from UCLA and went on to study at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Al is a graduate from Dartmouth College’s Guarini Graduate School where he studied Creative Writing, and currently serves on the Alumni Council. He also completed a creative writing program at the University of Oxford, Exeter College. Al’s short film Love, Basketball won second place in the My Hero International Film Festival, 2021, under the “Poetry” category. He has published and/or presented poetry in the Society of Classical Poets, The Dartmouth Writers Society, The United Nations Association, Southwest Airlines, O.C. Registrar, Dartmouth Leslie Center Lifeline’s Poetry Share, Houston Library Poetry Share, Clamantis Journal, and the Dartmouth Medical School Lifeline’s Journal. Al’s collection, Enter Atlas, was a Semi-Finalist for the University of Wisconsin’s Brittingham & Felix Pollak Prizes in Poetry, judged by Natasha Trethewey.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in a Jewish-American family, Ivy Schweitzer has lived in Vermont for many years and taught courses in American Literature and Women and Gender Studies at Dartmouth College. She has recently published poetry in Bloodroot Literary Magazine, Antiphon volume 19, Clear Poetry, Passager, Ritualwell, Tikkun, New Croton Review, Mississippi Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. In 2018, she felt called by Emily Dickinson to spend a year immersed in that poet’s most creative period in which she wrote almost a poem a day; the result is a year-long weekly blog called White Heat: Emily Dickinson in 1862, https://journeys.dartmouth.edu/whiteheat. In February 2024, she and Al Salehi published their co-written book of poetry titled “Within Flesh: In Conversation with Ourselves and Emily Dickinson.” Her solo collection, titled Tumult, Whitewash and Stretch Marks, will appear from Finishing Line Press in 2025.
sites.dartmouth.edu/ivyschweitzer


Questions?
Email edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

graphic delve into dickinson - Nature and God – I neither knew

Nature and God – I neither knew
Dickinson, Scientist of Faith
Thursday, September 12, 6:30pm ET

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

graphic delve into dickinson - Nature and God – I neither knewFor any questions, please e-mail edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

Registration is required for this virtual program and is offered on a sliding scale from $5 – $20.
Please select the ticket price that is right for you, and consider supporting the Museum and the participation of other educators through your purchase. Tickets are non-refundable.

REGISTER

Nature and God – I neither knew
Yet Both so well knew Me
They startled, like Executors
Of My identity –
Yet Neither told – that I could learn –
My Secret as secure
As Herschel’s private interest
Or Mercury’s Affair –
(Fr803)

Emily Dickinson’s opening claim in this poem is a bit disingenuous: her poems contain hundreds of references to nature and God. She “knew” them quite well, yet both continually “startled” her, and her true “identity” was an explorer of their “Secrets.”

Dickinson’s allusions to local flora and fauna, as in “The Lilac is an ancient shrub” and “A narrow Fellow in the Grass,” are well known, but her fascination with science extended to many fields, from astronomy (as in the Herschel reference above—he discovered Uranus) to geology (including five poems about volcanoes alone) to medicine (five about surgeons) to mathematics, technology, and many more (White).

Science, which she studied with great interest from her school days onward, and which was burgeoning with new developments during her lifetime, provided Dickinson the poet more than a rich technical lexicon and a trove of startling metaphors; it also offered a method for experimenting with spiritual problems.

In this workshop, we will read and discuss a range of Dickinson poems with scientific content and examine the ways they intersect with her lifelong struggles with religious faith, confirming or confounding her understandings of nature and human life. We will also explore contexts for teaching the “science poems.”

Work Cited: White, Fred D. “‘Sweet Skepticism of the Heart’: Science in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson.”College Literature, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 121–128.


headshot of a man with white hair, mustache, beard and glasses

Bruce M. Penniman, Ed.D., taught writing, speech, and literature at Amherst Regional High School for 36 years and is still an advisor to the Sene-Gambian Scholars exchange program there. He served as Site Director of the Western Massachusetts Writing Project at University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he has taught numerous graduate courses for teachers. In 1999 he was named Massachusetts Teacher of the Year and finalist for National Teacher of the Year, and he is the author of Building the English Classroom: Foundations, Support, Success (NCTE, 2009). He has been a teacher curriculum mentor in all four NEH Emily Dickinson: Person, Poetry, and Place workshops and has facilitated discussions for the Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion Group on topics ranging from “Emily Dickinson and the Bible” to “Emily Dickinson and Science.”


Questions?
Email edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org

Tell-It-Slant-2022-Square-Web-Graphics

Tell It Slant Poetry Festival 2024 Schedule
September 23-29

The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival returns September 23 – 29, 2024!
SAVE THE DATE — Registration details coming soon. 

Join us for a week of events happening both online and in-person at the Museum. Registration TBA!

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s annual Tell It Slant Poetry Festival is an event with international reach that celebrates Emily Dickinson’s poetic legacy and the contemporary creativity she and her work continues to inspire from the place she called home.

This year’s FREE and hybrid Festival includes events happening online, as well as in-person at the Museum under our heated tent. Save the date — registration details coming soon!

Learn more about the 2024 lineup below. 

THE SCHEDULE:

graphic Marathon Part 1 - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic Marathon Part 2 - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic Our Roots as Muse_ - Tell It Slant 2024

graphic Telling Our Medical Stories Slant - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic Marathon Part 3 - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic Poetry, Spirituality, and New Forms of Attention - Tell It Slant 2024

graphic Bee! I'm expecting you__ - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic Marathon Part 4 - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic Phosphorescence - Tell It Slant 2024

graphic Marathon Part 5 - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic Poetry Masterclass - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic Open Mic - Tell It Slant 2024

graphic Marathon Part 6 - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic Poets of the Public - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic “I am afraid to own a Body”_- Tell It Slant 2024

graphic Late Night Garden Party - Tell It Slant 2024 graphic “Picnic, Lightning” - Tell It Slant 2024 The Celtification of Emily Dickinson - Tell It Slant 2024

graphic Marathon Part 7 - Tell It Slant 2024 


Monday, September 23
:
6-8:30pm [Virtual] — Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon: Part 1
A group reading of all 1,789 poems by Emily Dickinson over the course of 7 sessions. This session takes place entirely virtually and is open to both readers and listeners. We will be reading from Ralph Franklin’s The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition. Sign up as a listener or reader by registering for the Festival.


Tuesday, September 24
:

12-2:15pm [Virtual] — Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon: Part 2
A group reading of all 1,789 poems by Emily Dickinson over the course of 7 sessions. This session takes place entirely virtually and is open to both readers and listeners. We will be reading from Ralph Franklin’s The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition. Sign up as a listener or reader by registering for the Festival.
6-7:30pm [Virtual] — Our Roots as Muse: Family & Ancestry as Creative Inspiration
Facilitators will lead participants in a series of generative writing exercises using personal family and ancestral history as creative inspiration and content. Participants will leave the workshop with at least two writing sketches and other writing resources to continue developing their ideas and creatively archiving their own family histories.
Featuring .chisaraokwu. and Tamara J. Madison.
6:30-8pm [Virtual] — Telling our Medical Stories Slant
In this workshop, participants will learn how to translate their personal stories of illness and disability into poetry, something Dickinson herself practiced, and something that’s employed by practitioners of Narrative/Poetic Medicine.
Featuring Rosemarie Dombrowski and Catharine Clark-Sayles.


Wednesday, September 25
:

12-2:15pm [Virtual] — Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon: Part 3
A group reading of all 1,789 poems by Emily Dickinson over the course of 7 sessions. This session takes place entirely virtually and is open to both readers and listeners. We will be reading from Ralph Franklin’s The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition. Sign up as a listener or reader by registering for the Festival.
4:30-6pm [Virtual] — Poetry, Spirituality, and New Forms of Attention
Emily Dickinson’s poems interact with silence to open spaces of questioning, recognition, and keen attention to spiritual matters and questions of meaning. In this workshop, we’ll place our own poetry in the context of Dickinson’s poetry, offer a short guided meditation and generative prompts for participants to explore their own relation to silence, voice, and spiritual attention.
Featuring Rachel Zucker and Nadia Colburn.
7:30-9pm [Virtual] — “Bee! I’m expecting you”: Dialogues with the Non-Human
Emily Dickinson lived in a time of ecological change and painful civil conflict. Against this backdrop, Dickinson’s poems reach out to the world around her—the frog, the snake, the hummingbird, train, “slant of light,” even the “loaded gun,” addressing these others as companions, fellow witnesses. In this panel, poets explore both Dickinson’s and their own dialogues with the nonhuman.
Featuring Carolina Ebeid, Julia Guez, Anna V. Q. Ross, and Tess Taylor.


Thursday, September 26
:

12-2:15pm [Virtual] — Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon: Part 4
A group reading of all 1,789 poems by Emily Dickinson over the course of 7 sessions. This session takes place entirely virtually and is open to both readers and listeners. We will be reading from Ralph Franklin’s The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition. Sign up as a listener or reader by registering for the Festival.

6-7:15pm [Virtual] — Phosphorescence Contemporary Poetry Reading
Festival edition of the Museum’s monthly poetry reading series. Hear from poets around the world as they read their work and discuss what poetry and Dickinson mean to them.
Featuring Jane Huffman, Molly Akin, and Diane Seuss.


Friday, September 27
:

12-2:15pm [Virtual] — Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon: Part 5
A group reading of all 1,789 poems by Emily Dickinson over the course of 7 sessions. This session takes place entirely virtually and is open to both readers and listeners. We will be reading from Ralph Franklin’s The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition. Sign up as a listener or reader by registering for the Festival.
3-4:30pm [Hybrid] — Poetry Masterclass with Oliver de la Paz
Hone your craft in this generative writing workshop.
7-8:30pm [Hybrid] — Open Mic Night with Oliver de la Paz and Diannely Antigua

Bring your poems to Emily Dickinson’s garden! Readers will have 5 minutes each to make us feel “physically as if the top of [our] head[s] were taken off!” (Emily Dickinson to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 16 August 1870) Featured poets Oliver de la Paz and Diannelly Antigua will follow the open mic. Open mic sign-ups will be handled in advance via a Google Form and a lottery, and selected readers will be notified. Stay tuned for the Google form, which will be posted here.


Saturday, September 28
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9:30am-12pm[Hybrid] — Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon: Part 6
A group reading of all 1,789 poems by Emily Dickinson over the course of 7 sessions. For this session, readers must be present on-site, but listeners are welcome both in-person and online. We will be reading from Ralph Franklin’s The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition. Sign up as a listener or reader by registering for the Festival. 
1-2:30pm [Hybrid] — Poets of the Public: New England Poet Laureates
Poets will share about their role as Poet Laureate in their respective communities, sharing information about the programming we each developed, and will discuss what it means to be a “Civic Poet” with a broad set of responsibilities and audiences while also maintaining one’s own personal writing practice. 
Featuring Oliver de la Paz and Diannely Antigua.
3:30-5pm [Hybrid] — “I am afraid to own a Body”: Continuing Dickinson’s Legacy of Braving the Body
A discussion of Dickinson’s poems about the body and embodied experience, particularly her exploration into the often-contradictory needs between body and mind. A selection of contemporary poems by women and non-binary poets from Braving the Body who have been inspired by Dickinson’s work. Prompts will be provided for a generative writing exercise. 
Featuring Jennifer Franklin, Pichchenda Bao and Nicole Callihan.
7-9pm [Hybrid] — Headliner Night and Garden Party with Carl Phillips and Sebastian Merrill
Join us in Emily Dickinson’s garden or virtually for a celebration of creativity and poetry! Our headlining poets, 2023 Pulitzer Prize recipient Carl Phillips and Sebastian Merrill, read from their work and discuss poetic practice and inspiration.


Sunday, September 29
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10-11:30am [Hybrid] — “Picnic, Lightning”: Concision, Compression, & Brevity in the Very Short Poem
Emily Dickinson is one of the greatest masters of the short poem. In this workshop for writers at all stages in their practice, we’ll focus on the Very Short Poem, the highly pressurized lyric that casts off a resonance far bigger than its real estate.
Featuring Patrick Donnelly.
11:30am-1pm [Hybrid] — The Celtification of Emily Dickinson
Featuring the poems of Emily Dickinson with music and lyrics by Rosemary Caine. If the Irish can claim they saved civilization, then the Wilde Irish Women dare to claim that Margaret Maher saved Emily Dickinson’s poems. Experience the lauded musical play that reveals the unlikely story of a humble Irish maid’s influence on her reclusive mistress, Emily Dickinson. Margaret Maher defied Emily’s deathbed decree to burn her poems. Her brave, independent thinking and courageous action came from being born in Ireland, a country where poems are respected, not burned. But there is so much more to the story…
Featuring Rosie Caine and Wilde Irish Women.

2-4pm [Hybrid] — Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon: Grand Finale
A group reading of all 1,789 poems by Emily Dickinson over the course of 7 sessions. For this session, readers must be present on-site, but listeners are welcome both in-person and online. We will read from Ralph Franklin’s The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition. Sign up as a listener or reader by registering for the Festival. 

FESTIVAL REGISTRATION TBA!


About the Festival:

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s Annual Tell It Slant Poetry Festival is an event with international reach that celebrates Emily Dickinson’s poetic legacy and the contemporary creativity she and her work continues to inspire from the place she called home.

The Festival is named for 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. Festival organizers are committed to featuring established and emerging poets who represent the diversity of the contemporary poetry landscape and to fostering community by placing poetry in the public sphere. 

This year’s line-up features workshops, panels, and readings, by a diverse and talented group of poets from around the world. The cornerstone of the Festival, the Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon, is an epic reading of all 1,789 of Emily Dickinson’s poems.

To follow along with the Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon, get your copy of the Franklin edition from the Emily Dickinson Museum Shop.

The annual event attracts a diverse audience of Dickinson fans and poetry lovers, including students, educators, aspiring writers, and those who are new to poetry and literary events. Past Festival headliners have included Marilyn Nelson, Abigail Chabitnoy, Tracy K. Smith, Tiana Clark, Tess Taylor, Ada Limón, Jericho Brown, Franny Choi, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Paisley Rekdal, Adrian Matejka, Kaveh Akbar, and Ocean Vuong

Support The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival:
Admission to all Poetry Festival events is free–made possible by contributions from Museum supporters.
Please consider making a donation of any size during the registration process or anytime on the Museum’s website.