A Poetry Month Archives Tour at Houghton Library
Wed., April 14, 6:30pm

VIRTUAL PROGRAM

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

Join us during National Poetry Month for a very special behind the scenes look at the Dickinson collection at Harvard University’s Houghton Library.

The Houghton Library is known for its holdings of papers of 19th-century American writers, and many would say that the jewel in that crown is the Emily Dickinson Collection. Houghton’s Dickinson Collection is the largest in the world, preserving more than 1,000 autograph poems and some 300 letters. The collection also includes such treasures as: Dickinson’s Herbarium, the family library — including the poet’s Bible, and family furniture and papers that provide insight into the context of the poet’s life and work. The heart of the collection is the 40 hand-sewn manuscript books, or fascicles, into which the poet copied her poems. Houghton Library curator Leslie Morris gives you an up close and personal look at this treasure trove of Dickinsoniana in this virtual tour. Hear the stories these objects can tell and learn about recent work in the collection. A Q&A follows the presentation. This is a virtual program and will be held on Zoom.

About the facilitator: Leslie Morris is the Gore Vidal Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts at the Houghton Library, Harvard University. She is the General Editor of the open-access Emily Dickinson Archive, which makes images and transcripts of Dickinson’s handwritten poems freely available to millions of visitors every year. Other Dickinson publications include a color facsimile of Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium (2006).  Morris has also been a member of the Board of Governors at the Emily Dickinson Museum for fourteen years.

 

 

Rewatch:

 

Virtual Programs Archive

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

Headshots of April poets

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

Phosphorescence April 2021 featured poets:
Jennifer Franklin, Philip F. Clark, Fred Marchant and Mervyn Taylor

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 Jennifer Franklin

Jennifer Franklin (AB Brown University, MFA Columbia University School of the Arts) has published two full-length collections, most recently No Small Gift (Four Way Books, 2018). Her third book, If Some God Shakes Your House, will be published by Four Way Books in 2023. She was nominated for a Rona Jaffe Award and a Pushcart Prize. Her work has been published in American Poetry Review, Blackbird, Boston Review, Gettysburg Review, Guernica, JAMA, Love’s Executive Order, The Nation, Paris Review, “poem-a-day” on poets.org, and Prairie Schooner. Her poem, “Memento Mori: Pistachios,” will be featured in Poetry Society of America’s Poetry in Motion, RI in February 2021. She teaches in the MFA Program at Manhattanville College. For the past seven years, she has taught manuscript revision at the Hudson Valley Writers Center where she serves as Program Director and co-edits Slapering Hol Press. jenniferfranklinpoet.com

Headshot of poet Philip ClarkePhilip F. Clark is the author of The Carnival of Affection (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017), and teaches at City College, New York, where he received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 2016. He is a Poetry Editor at The Night Heron Barks, A&U Magazine, and The Poet’s Grin. His poetry and writing has been published in Tiferet Journal (nominated for a 2021 Pushcart Prize), Vox Populi, Re: An Ideas Journal, Lambda Literary and other publications. 
philipfclark.wordpress.com

 

Headshot of poet Fred MarchantFred Marchant is the author of five books of poetry, most recently Said Not Said (Graywolf Press, 2017). Graywolf also published his collections Full Moon Boat (2000) and The Looking House (2009). His first book, Tipping Point, won the 1993 Washington Prize from the Word Works. In 2002 Dedalus Press of Dublin Ireland brought out House on Water, House in Air, a new and selected poems. For over thirty years, he taught at Suffolk University in Boston, and is now an Emeritus Professor of English and the founding co-director of the Suffolk University Poetry Center. He continues to teach writing workshops in a number of other venues, including the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Hudson Valley Writers Center, and the SF Bay Area Veteran Writing Group.
fredmarchant.com

Headshot of poet Mervyn TaylorMervyn Taylor a Trinidad-born poet and longtime Brooklyn resident, is the author of seven collections of poetry, including No Back Door (2010), Voices Carry (2017), and most recently, Country of Warm Snow (2020), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, which has also been long listed for the Bocas Prize. His chapbook, News of the Living: Corona Poems was published by Broadstone Books in 2020. Currently, he serves as co-editor on the Advisory Board of Slapering Hol Press, Hudson Valley, New York.
mervyntaylor.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.

 

Headshots of March poets

Phosphorescence Poetry Reading Series
Thursday, March 25, 6-7pm

Phosphorescence March 2021 featured poets:
Teri Ellen Cross Davis, Amy Dryansky, and W. Todd Kaneko.

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:

Teri Ellen Cross Davis - Headshot Teri Ellen Cross Davis is the author of a more perfect Union, awarded the 2019 Journal/Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize and Haint, awarded the 2017 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. She is the winner of the Poetry Society of America’s 2020 Robert H. Winner Memorial Award. She has received fellowships and scholarships to Cave Canem, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Hedgebrook, Community of Writers Poetry Workshop, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She is the Poetry Coordinator for the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C.
poetsandparents.com

Amy Dryansky - HeadshotAmy Dryansky has published two poetry collections; the second, Grass Whistle (Salmon Poetry) received the Massachusetts Book Award. Her first, How I Got Lost So Close to Home, won the New England/New York Award from Alice James. Her work is included in several anthologies and individual poems appear in  Harvard Review, New England Review, Memorious, Orion, The Sun, Tin House, and other journals. She’s received honors from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MacDowell Colony and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and is a former Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA. She directs the Culture, Brain & Development Program at Hampshire College and parents two children. 
amydryansky.com

Todd-Kaneko-HeadshotW. Todd Kaneko is the author of This Is How the Bone Sings (Black Lawrence Press 2020) and The Dead Wrestler Elegies (New Michigan Press 2021), and co-author with Amorak Huey of Poetry: A Writers’ Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury Academic 2018) and Slash / Slash, winner of the 2021 Diode Editions Chapbook Contest. His work has appeared in Poetry, Alaskan Quarterly Review, The Normal School, Barrelhouse, DIAGRAM, and many other places. A Kundiman Fellow, he lives with his family in Grand Rapids, Michigan and teaches at Grand Valley State University.
toddkaneko.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.

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.

pencil and fascicle

“A Mighty Room” Virtual Studio Session: Library, February 5, 12-1pm

A bookshelf in the Homestead library

A Homestead library bookshelf

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. Update 1/29: the program is now filledTo be added to the waitlist for this program, click here. We plan to continue to offer these programs , and will prioritize participants who have been waitlisted in the past for future registrations.

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.

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

“A Mighty Room” Virtual Studio Session: Bedroom, January 29, 12-1pm

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 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. 

Space is limited for this program and you may be added to a waitlist. To sign up please click this link to visit 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.

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.