Emily Dickinson Birthday Celebration, December 10, 2020 from 12-1 p.m.


You are cordially invited to the Emily Dickinson Museum’s virtual celebration of the poet’s 190th birthday! On Thursday, December 10, join us for an afternoon of fun including a team bake of Dickinson’s famous Black Cake, a make-at-home craft demo, music, an aerial journey over Amherst, screenings of videos from our “My Emily Dickinson” collecting project, special guests from Apple TV’s Dickinson, and finally the singing of the birthday song. 

Don’t forget to sign the virtual guest-book, and be prepared for poll questions along the way!

All are welcome to this free program but registration is required. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. 

close up on Dickinson's face from the black and white dagguereotypeA ‘My Emily Dickinson’ Do-At-Home Craft:

During this time of celebration, we are excited to share with you this color-by-numbers activity created specifically to celebrate Emily Dickinson’s 190th birthday.  The link below includes a color-by-numbers image based on Dickinson’s most iconic photograph, a daguerreotype included in Millicent Todd Bingham’s gift of Dickinson material to Amherst College in 1956.  Additionally, you will find a list of suggested colors and instructions to help you get started.   

Emily Dickinson Color By Numbers Activity Kit

We hope you enjoy creating your own Emily Dickinson portrait masterpiece! 

About Dickinson’s Birthday

Emily Dickinson, the middle child of Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson, was born on December 10, 1830, in the family Homestead on Main Street in Amherst, Massachusetts. She celebrated 55 birthdays before her death in 1886. As an adult she wrote, “We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” (Johnson L379)

Give a Birthday Gift

It’s not a birthday party without gifts! Although many of the Museum’s online programs are free of charge, if you’re looking to honor Emily with a birthday present, please consider a donation to our Annual Fund. The museum’s mission is not possible without your support. Your donation will go directly towards the study, preservation, and celebration of Emily Dickinson’s life and work.

Special thanks to these partners in our Birthday Celebration:

James Arnold

Steven Glazer and Students

Emily Walhout and the Houghton Library at Harvard University

Apple TV’s ‘Dickinson’

Consulate General of Israel to New England

daguerreotype in gilt frame of Amherst College

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

daguerreotype in gilt frame of Amherst College

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


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

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

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


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

arts night

Amherst Arts Night with The Literacy Project, December 3, 2020

arts night

During the pandemic, the Emily Dickinson Museum is celebrating monthly Amherst Arts Night Plus with remote poetry programs every first Thursday at 6:30pm (EST).

This program is free to attend. Registration is required. Click here to register!

Students of The Literacy Project in the Dickinson family parlor.




Featured readers: The Literacy Project

The Literacy Project presents original poems, essays, and stories written and read by students of The Literacy Project. The Literacy Project provides adult basic education programs and opportunities that support participants to engage meaningfully and equitably in the economic, social, cultural and civic life of their communities. With a staff of 20 and 75 volunteers, the Project now offers classes in basic literacy, high school equivalency and college and career readiness at 5 locations in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts: Greenfield, Orange, Northampton, Amherst and Ware.


Poetry Discussion Group, November 19 & 20, 2020


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 November 19 or November 20. Space is limited. To request a space, please complete this google form. For questions, please write

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

“The Way to Know the Bobolink”: Field Notes on Dickinson’s Birds
Over 200 bird references flit in and out of Dickinson’s poems. We know Dickinson’s birds as metaphors of hope, symbols of seasonal change, and less frequently, as subjects. We’ll explore a small collection of poems that feature those species Dickinson knew best—the New England backyard birds and probable visitors to the Dickinson meadow—whose presences herald a distinctly American poetry.  This discussion will situate Dickinson’s literary birds alongside bird ecology, behavior, and the burgeoning  field of ornithology. But while we may “split the lark” (Fr905), we’ll be sure to keep the “music” of Dickinson’s words at the forefront of our discussion.

About the facilitator
As Education Programs Manager, Elizabeth Bradley has curated the Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion Group since 2017. She is looking forward to stepping into the role of leader for the first time to discuss two of her favorite topics: Dickinson and birds. Elizabeth has an MA in History from UMass Amherst (with an emphasis on public, cultural, and environmental histories), and is fascinated by nature in the 19th century imagination. She has a long history of leading more science-oriented bird discussions, having developed many K-12 programs and teacher workshops about urban birds during her tenure as an environmental educator in NYC. Her favorite local bird is the hermit thrush.

the inside of the homestead library

“A Mighty Room” Studio Session: Library, November 14 from 10:30-11:30am – REMOTE PROGRAM

the inside of the homestead library

photo by Jeff Morgan

Sweet hours have perished here;

This is a mighty room;

Within its precincts hopes have played, —

Now shadows in the tomb.  


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 and you may be added to a waitlist. REGISTRATION FOR THIS PROGRAM IS CLOSED AS OF 11/4. 

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.

arts night

Dickinson In Translation: Amherst Arts Night Poetry Reading, November 5, 2020 REMOTE

arts night

During the pandemic, the Emily Dickinson Museum is celebrating monthly Amherst Arts Night Plus with remote poetry programs every first Thursday at 6:30pm (EST).

This program is free to attend. Registration is required. Click here to register!

November Feature:

“Emily Dickinson In Translation”: During November’s Arts Night, enjoy a presentation of multi-lingual readings and short discussions on the practice of translating Dickinson’s words, presented by the Translation Center of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A unique enterprise that combines business services with academics, the Center offers translation, interpreting, workshops, language consulting, and much more to a variety of clients including small businesses, multinational corporations, museums, law firms, hospitals, NGOs, filmmakers, advertising firms, educational institutions, and individuals. Special thanks to the Center’s Director, Regina Galasso. 

About the Translators:

Black and white portrait of Dickinson translator, Adalberto Muller.Adalberto Müller is an Associate Professor for Literary Theory at the University Federal Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro. He was a Visiting Scholar at The University at Buffalo in 2018 and at Yale University in 2013, and he has been a member of the Emily Dickinson International Society since 2015. Besides publishing two collections of essays, he translated  e. e. cummings, Paul Celan and Francis Ponge. His recent works are a collection of texts on plants – Transplantations (from my mother’s garden), 2019 –  a book of short stories – O Traço do calígrafo, 2020 – and Walter Benjamin: Teses sobre a História. Edição Crítica (with Márcio Seligmann-Silva). His translation of the complete poems of Emily Dickinson into Portuguese are being published in Brazil, by Editora da Unb/Editora Unicamp (2 vol.)

Portrait of Marcel RieraMarcel Riera i Bou is an award-winning poet, editor, and translator. In 2017, he published his Catalan translations of 200 Emily Dickinson poems with Edicions Proa. The book is now in its second edition. He has also translated Joseph Brodsky, Philip Larkin, James Fenton, Rumer Godden, Edward Thomas, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and W. H. Auden. He is Co-Director and a member of the editorial board of El Cercle de Viena, a press dedicated to publishing modern literary classics in Catalan.

poetry discussion

Poetry Discussion Group, October 16, 2020

poetry discussionThe 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. This program is full. If you are interested in future poetry discussion sections, please email

This program is free of charge, but we encourage those who are able to do so to make a donation upon their accepted registration. 

Topic: “No lives – Are Round”: Emily Dickinson’s Poetics

Karen Sánchez-Eppler, co-editor with Cristanne Miller of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Emily Dickinson, will lead the group in discussion that draws from new critical approaches to Dickinson. She will  briefly introduce the goals for the Handbook as well as the mix of approaches and perspectives it encompasses. The collection contains many essays that deepen our knowledge of the historical, biographical, and literary contexts in which Dickinson wrote and many that address her poetics—the how and what of her writing. A central goal of the project has been to connect these two scholarly modes. Rather than thinking of Dickinson as writing a poetry of correspondence, specific occasion, and intimate relationship, tightly bound to its immediate historical and biographical context and its unique material form (the chocolate wrapper or envelope flap) OR as a poetry of philosophical and spiritual consequence and universal reach, the collection affirms that both are true. Rather than asking readers to pick between these modes, we prod readers to consider how they illuminate each other.  

For this poetry discussion, we will explore a few poems that have more than one version, and hence more than one context, as a convenient way to consider how biographical context and material form do and don’t matter for Dickinson’s poetics. 

About the Facilitator: 
Karen Sánchez-Eppler is Professor of American Studies and English at Amherst College. She frequently teaches college seminars on Dickinson at the Museum and is a member of the Emily Dickinson Museum Board of Governors. She is the author of Touching Liberty: Abolition, Feminism, and the Politics of the Body and Dependent States: The Child’s Part in Nineteenth-Century American Culture. She is co-editor with Cristanne Miller, of the forthcoming The Oxford Handbook of Emily DickinsonSee her faculty profile for a fuller account of her scholarship and interests.  

arts night

Amherst Arts Night Virtual Reading: October 1, 2020 at 6:30pm – REMOTE PROGRAM

arts night

During the pandemic, the Emily Dickinson Museum is celebrating monthly Amherst Arts Night Plus with remote poetry readings every first Thursday at 6:30pm (EST).

This program is free to attend. Registration is required. Click here to sign-up!



Our October featured poets are:


Rage Hezekiah

Rage Hezekiah is a New England based poet and educator, who earned her MFA from Emerson College. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The MacDowell Colony, and The Ragdale Foundation, and is the recipient of the Saint Botolph Foundation’s Emerging Artists Award. Her poems have been anthologized, co-translated, and published internationally. Rage’s debut full-length collection of poems, Stray Harbor, is available through Finishing Line Press. Her 2019 chapbook, Unslakable, is a 2018 Vella Chapbook Award winner available from Paper Nautilus.

For more information visit:


Poet Brionne Janae is pictured reflected in a mirror, holding a coffee in one hand and a phone in the other




Brionne Janae

Brionne Janae is a poet and educator living in Brooklyn. They are a recipient of the 2016 St. Botoloph Emerging Artist award, a Hedgebrook Alum and proud Cave Canem Fellow. Their poetry has been published or is forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The Sun Magazine jubilat, Sixth Finch, Plume, The Nashville Review, and Waxwing among others. Brionne’s first full length collection of poetry After Jubilee was published by Boaat Press.

For more information visit:



   Poet Taylor Johnson looks into the camera in front of a background of foliage

Taylor Johnson

Taylor Johnson is proud of being from Washington, DC. They’ve received fellowships and scholarships from CALLALOO, Cave Canem, Lambda Literary, Tin House, the Vermont Studio Center, Yaddo, the Conversation Literary Festival,  the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Bread Loaf Environmental Writers’ Conference, among other organizations. In 2017, Taylor received the Larry Neal Writers’ Award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. 

Their poems appear in The Baffler, Indiana Review, Scalawag, and the Paris Review, among other journals and literary magazines. Their first book, Inheritance, will be published November 2020 with Alice James Books. Taylor lives in southern Louisiana where they listen.

For more information visit:

poetry festival

The 2021 Tell It Slant Poetry Festival: Remote Event

The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival (formerly the Amherst Poetry Festival) is a free event that celebrates the poetic legacy of Emily Dickinson and the contemporary creativity of the Pioneer Valley and beyond.

This year’s Festival will be held remotely. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to hear lineup announcements!

About the Festival:

Produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, with support from the Amherst Business Improvement District, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and in partnership with the Jones Library, the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival celebrates the poetic legacy of Emily Dickinson and the contemporary creativity of the Pioneer Valley and beyond. The Festival’s new name “Tell It Slant,” was selected in homage to 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. The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival remains committed to featuring and serving established and emerging poets who represent the diversity of the contemporary American poetry landscape and to fostering community by placing poetry in the public sphere. The annual event attracts a diverse regional audience of poetry-lovers, including families, students, educators, aspiring writers, and those who are new to poetry and literary events. Past Festival headliners have included James Tate, Dara Weir, Martín Espada, Kaveh Akbar, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Adrian Matejka, Shayla Lawson, and Ocean Vuong.

block party

Please note: The Festival Steering Committee is planning a virtual 2021 event to ensure the health and safety of participants during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we are disappointed not to gather together in Amherst, we find (as always) that Dickinson, the original queen of social distancing, offers inspiration. During this time, we call on you to help us carry on Dickinson’s legacy of creating community and sparking the imagination as we shelter in place.

Support The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival and Honor Someone Special:
Admission to all Festival events is free, but online donations, especially those made in honor or memory of family, friends, or colleagues are heartily encouraged and vital to the future of this beloved annual event. All gifts are tax deductible and will be recognized as part of the Festival.

View Past Festival Schedules:
2020 Tell It Slant Poetry Festival 
2019 Amherst Poetry Festival


A special thank you to our individual supporters:
Aife Murray in memory of Eleanor Moran Evans; Amy Sayers; Ani Tuzman; Ann E Quinn; Ann E. Van Dyke; Anne Gottlieb; Anne S. Bakeman; April S Ridge in memory of Sean Mason; Aran Donovan; Arun Prakash Sanghvi; Barbara Bald; Barbara Greenbaum; Beth Curran; Bridget Boylan; Bridget McGraw; Brunilda Kondi; Carol Tierney; Carol Young; Carri Lynn George; Cassandra Whetstone; Catherine A Kreyche; Catherine Gewertz; Charlene Haskins Baumbich in celebration of Emily & Talented Cousin Diane; Charles W.V. Young; Christopher Diaz; Claudia J Pocock in memory of Ruth Bader Ginsberg; Cynthia Bargar; Cynthia Stanton in celebration; Daniel M Perrine; David Banach; David M Williams; David M. Clayton; Dawn Marar; Deborah Polansky; Deirdre Abbott Casey; Denise B Trach in celebration of Poetry; Denise O Parsons; Doris W Brogan in memory of Sandra Lamb; Dr. Eleanor Heginbotham in honor of EDIS Friends of Four Decades; E Sidney Zimet; Edith Benson and Stephen Benson; Eileen C Williams; Eleanor Kedney; Elizabeth J Kandall in memory of RBG; Elizabeth L Levin Pittel; Elizabeth Maxey; Ellen Rook; Emily Lackey in celebration of The Emily Dickinson Museum Staff; Emily Page; Erica Plouffe Lazure; Erika D. Walker in honor of Elizabeth Robinson; Erika Hendra in memory of Jason Ram; Evelyn Asher in memory of Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Evelyn Walsh in celebration of Marianne Kulla Strauss; Florencia Milito; Frances Nan; Gail M Menius in celebration of Donna Ferrin; Gerald Gotterer; Glenna Wong in memory of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; Grant P Davis; Harbour Fraser Hodder; Hayley Barrett; Hayley Bernier; Hilaree L Robinson; Hope Whitby; Jac-Lynn Stark; James Gordon Fairburn; Jenna Schiappacasse; Jenny McGullam; Jessica Mink; Jessica N Bowdoin; Jessica Purdy; Jessie Lemmon; Jo Taylor; Joanne Barclay Skoller; John Valentine in celebration of Jean Valentine; Joshua T. Platt; Karen E Scott; Karen M Homer in memory of Andrew Peik; Karen Skolfield; Kate Angus; Kathleen Patricia McGraw in celebration of Bridget McGraw; Kathryn Gearheard; Kellie L. Burdg; Kiev A Rattee; Lanette Ward in honor of Emily Golden; Laura Goldstein; Laura Grzybowski in honor of Brooke Eugenia Steinhauser; Laura Johnson in celebration of Molly Shedek-Alexander; Laura Williams; Laurel Radzieski; Lesley M Tyson; Lester Hamilton; Linda Hillman; Linda M. Golden; Linda Siptroth; Lissa Pierce-Bonifaz; Lucy Abbott-Pawlishen in memory of Livingston Pangburn; Lynette Terrell; Lynn M Kincanon; Marcia Camino in memory of Michael Mason;Margaret M Stawowy in honor of Doris Stawowy; Margaret Ohrn; Marianne Worthington in honor of Jericho Brown; Marion Van Arsdell; Marisa Traylor; Mark Jackett; Martha A. Ackmann; Martha Addy Freedberg in memory of Lura Addy Young; Martina F Powell; Mary A. Smith in memory of Meredith Brook; Mary H Harris; Mary T Schneider; Maureen Regan; Meg Reynolds; Meghan Marks; Melanie Reed; Nancy M McKay in memory of Natalie Lucchese; Natalia Sperry in memory of Diantha Sperry (née Pangborn); Nathalie F Anderson; Nazare Hamilton; Nicole Pura Heath; Nora T. Maroulis in memory of Mary Carr Trebbe; Paola Vavrusova; Patrice Pinette; Paul Telles; Peggy C. Hall; Peggy O’Neil Dailey in memory of Jean R. Kline; Peter McGullam in memory of Ellen Miller; Quinn McAdam; Rachel Wysoker; Renee Hamlin; Richard D Deaton; Robert L. Gamble; Rose M Smith; Rosemary C McInnes; Sara Schlossman in honor of All the poets who keep doing the work; Sarah Harding Fox in memory of Ruth Bader Ginsberg; Sam McGullam in celebration of Elizabeth, Brooke, and Melizza—the Emily Dickinson Museum programs staff; Sarah Willburn in memory of Pansylea Willburn; Sean St. Marie; Sharon Hayes; Shelly Krehbiel; Siobhan Mulvey in celebration of Emily Dickinson; Sneha Madhavan-Reese; Sophia Nicholson; Stacy Evans; Steven John Wagner; Susan L Moore; Terry House; Tom Newman; Tricia Coscia; Vivian Zoma; Wendy Drexler; Yamini Pathak

EMILYTOBER: A collection of prompts for Artober

#Emilytober Prompt List – Be Inspired, October 1st – 31st!

Artists wrestled here!
Lo, a tint Cashmere!
Lo, a Rose!
Student of the Year!
For the Easel here,
Say Repose!



Since 2009, artists from all over the world have chosen to spend October participating in challenges based on lists of prompts put together by other artists and institutions. Some make a piece of work every day, some every other day, and others are happy to simply take inspiration from all the lists floating around. We’re so excited to be participating in this year’s #Artober by releasing our own list of prompts consisting of phrases from Dickinson poems! We encourage you to pick and choose from the prompts, to work from either the lines we’ve provided or from the whole poems from which they’ve been plucked, and to create in any medium you desire. We look forward to seeing what you create—make sure to tag us on social media so we catch your work! You can tag your pieces with #artober2020, #emilytober, and We’ll share our favorites from our instagram account, and feature some of them here on our website!

Update! The #Emilytober Gallery is live!
Check out all the fantastic work here!


Emilytober #Artober Prompt List, 2020

The prompts are arranged in a grid over an orange background featuring a faded image of a mushroom, and framed by images of a skull, flowers, and vines

Full text of each prompt, in order, with Franklin edition reference numbers

  1. F32 The maple wears a gayer scarf –
  2. F1158 Best Witchcraft is Geometry
  3. F1350 The Mushroom is the Elf of Plants –
  4. F168 Ah, Necromancy Sweet!
  5. F1286 There is no Frigate like a Book
  6. F407 One need not be a Chamber – to be Haunted
  7. F796 The Lightning showed a Yellow Beak And then a livid Claw –
  8. F111 Artists wrestled here!
  9. F1268 A Word dropped careless on a Page
  10. F1199 For Captain was the Butterfly
  11. F1163 A Spider sewed at Night
  12. F166 Dust is the only Secret.
  13. F260 I’m Nobody! Who are you?
  14. F1393 Those Cattle smaller than a Bee
  15. F656 the Mermaids in the Basement/Came out to look at me –
  16. F1426 Buccaneers of Buzz –
  17. F140 Bring me the sunset in a cup –
  18. F1394 The long sigh of the Frog
  19. F916 Or Porch of Gnome
  20. F918 We met as Sparks – Diverging Flints
  21. F479 The Carriage held but just Ourselves – And Immortality.
  22. F162 From some old Fortress on the sun
  23. F1311 Art thou the thing I wanted?
  24. F1489 A Route of Evanescence,
  25. F296 Where ships of purple gently toss
  26. F1649 Back from the Cordial Grave I drag thee
  27. F1402 His Heart was darker than the starless night
  28. F1405 The absence of the Witch does not Invalidate the spell –
  29. F200 The Rose did caper on her cheek –
  30. F89 Imps in eager caucus
  31. F710 Where Squirrels play – and Berries dye – And Hemlocks – bow – to God
  32. F43 The Satyrs fingers beckoned
  33. F1747 That Love is all there is/Is all we know of Love,
  34. F509 A curious Cloud surprised the Sky
  35. F510 Upholsterer of the Pines – is He –