close up on Dickinson's face from the black and white dagguereotype

Emily Dickinson International Society Annual Meeting, July 31-August 1, 2020

daguerreotype photograph of Emily Dickinson at age 16In collaboration with the Emily Dickinson Museum, the 2020 EDIS Annual Meeting will be held virtually from July 31 to August 1. This remote event requires advance sign up; to register, click this link:

This year’s focus is “Dickinson at a Distance” –  How does Dickinson respond generatively and creatively to friends, relatives, and other writers even over distances of time and space? How does she engage with events that happen elsewhere or in other historical periods? What does she think about strangers, immigrants, people living in other places? In what ways did Dickinson and others in her era close geographic and emotional distance, and how might we learn to overcome or interrogate the same issues? This virtual, one-day Annual Meeting explores how figurations of isolation, distance, and remoteness in Dickinson’s work can teach us ways to connect more deeply with each other on personal, emotional, and intellectual levels.

 A variety of synchronic and asynchronic scholarly panels, cultural events, and poetry sessions, using Zoom and YouTube as platforms, are planned for this event.

To find out more about the schedule for this event, click here: [Link]

apf 2018

Tell It Slant Poetry Festival Call for Proposals: April 9 – June 7, 2020

The Emily Dickinson Museum is now accepting proposals for the eighth annual Tell It Slant Poetry Festival (formerly the Amherst Poetry Festival), A VIRTUAL EVENT held September 17-20, 2020! 


Produced by the Emily Dickinson Museum, with support from the Amherst Business Improvement District, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Jones Library, the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival celebrates the poetic legacy of Emily Dickinson and the contemporary creativity of the Pioneer Valley and beyond.

The Festival’s new name “Tell It Slant,” was selected in homage to Dickinson’s poem, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” This title underscores the revolutionary power of poetry to shift our perspective and reveal new truths. The Tell It Slant Poetry Festival remains committed to featuring and serving established and emerging poets who represent the diversity of the flourishing contemporary American poetry scene, and to fostering community by placing poetry in the public sphere. To see our 2019 Festival schedule click here.

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

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

The Steering Committee especially welcomes the following:

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

Honoraria are provided per event. 

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


  • Evening music, theater, dance, screening or other performance for general audiences. Submissions should be for 60- to 90-minute programs.
  • A $500 honorarium is offered for this program.


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


  • Daytime poetry workshops, panels, or participatory programs open to the public. Event sessions are typically an hour and a half long. 
  • $250 honoraria offered per event.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Only submissions made in the online form will be considered. There is no fee to submit proposals.
  • Following your submission, please email your resume/cv to 
    • Include “POETRY FESTIVAL SUBMISSION” in the title of the e-mail. We can accept .pdf, .doc, .docx files.
      If applicable, you may also submit an image in .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, and .png format.
  • Selected facilitators will be notified mid-June and will be asked to sign a letter of agreement confirming their participation in the Festival.
  • Submissions Due: Sunday, June 7, 2020, 11:59 pm EST.

Submissions will be judged on the following:

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


Questions? Email us at

a robin sits on a blue shovel surrounded by flower pots

Summer in the Poet’s Garden with Marta McDowell, July 17 12:30-1:30pm

Homestead as seen from the Dickinson gardenSummer was arguably Dickinson’s favorite season: more of her poems are set in summer than any other time of year. It’s not hard to understand why–summer at the Homestead brought with it trumpeting lilies, fragrant old-garden roses, delicious strawberries, and stores of fresh vegetables.

Join Marta McDowell, master gardener, landscape historian, and author of Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life for a virtual stroll through the Homestead gardens. Bring a cup of tea and spend an hour savoring blooms, stories, and verse gathered from Dickinson’s gardens. Learn about the flowers and plants Dickinson and her sister Lavinia cultivated in summer and how they preserved the fruits of their labor throughout the year.

This FREE program will be held on zoom from 12:30pm to 1:30pm EST. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.


Would you like Summer? Taste of our’s –
Spices? Buy – here!
Ill! We have Berries, for the parching!
Weary! Furloughs of Down!
Perplexed! Estates of Violet – Trouble ne’er looked on!
Captive! We bring Reprieve of Roses!
Fainting! Flasks of Air!
Even for Death – A Fairy medicine –
But, which is it – Sir?

About Marta
Marta McDowell teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden and consults for private clients and public gardens.  Her latest book is Emily Dickinson’s Gardening Life, 2019. Timber Press also published The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, New York Times-bestselling All the Presidents’ Gardens, and Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life, now in its seventh printing.  Marta is working on a new book about The Secret Garden and its author, Frances Hodgson Burnett, due out from Timber Press in 2022. She is the 2019 recipient of the Garden Club of America’s Sarah Chapman Francis Medal for outstanding literary achievement. 

Poet reading at a microphone in the museum

Amherst Arts Night Poetry Reading Series, July 2, 2020 – REMOTE PROGRAM

Poet reading at a microphone in the museum

During the pandemic, the Emily Dickinson Museum is celebrating monthly Amherst Arts Night Plus with remote poetry readings every first Thursday.

This program is free to attend. Registration is required, click here to receive the link.



In July we feature three Pioneer Valley poets:

Michael Mercurio lives and writes in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, where he is also a member of the steering committee for the Tell It Slant Poetry Festival (formerly Amherst Poetry Festival.) Michael’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Palette PoetrySugar House ReviewRust + MothCrab Creek Review, and Indianapolis Review, and his criticism has been published by The Lily Poetry Review. Find him online at

Hannah Larrabee‘s collection, Wonder Tissue, won the Airlie Press Poetry Prize and is in the running for a 2019 Massachusetts Book Award. She has a new chapbook of epistolary poems to Teilhard de Chardin out from Nixes Mate Press. Hannah’s written poetry for the James Webb Space Telescope program at NASA, and she’ll be sailing around Svalbard in the arctic circle with artists and scientists later this fall. She has an MFA from the University of New Hampshire where she studied with Charles Simic. For more information visit

Nathan McClain is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017), a recipient of fellowships from Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Frost Place, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers.  His poems and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Green Mountains Review, Poem-a-Day, The Common, and The Critical Flame.  He teaches at Hampshire College. For more information visit

Landscape Tours

CANCELLED – Garden Days, June 6 & 7, 2020

Landscape ToursThis program has been cancelled due to the pandemic. You might be interested in this remote program with master gardener and author Marta McDowell. 


Celebrate the beauty of spring during Garden Days at the Emily Dickinson Museum! 

As warmer temperatures arrive in Amherst, Emily’s garden begs to be tended. Join our 2018 Gardener-in-Residence Marta McDowell and a group of volunteers to aid in the cultivation and growth of the historic Dickinson family landscape. You do not need to be an expert gardener for this “all levels” program. Learn from volunteers who have tended the gardens in the past and become part of a new generation of caretakers for this precious piece of land. During Garden Days, visitors to the Museum can tend the historic landscape, discuss nature poetry under the great white oak tree, learn about the ongoing archaeological work, and enjoy gatherings in the garden all weekend long.

arts night plus

Amherst Arts Night Poetry Reading, June 4, 2020 at 6:30PM – REMOTE PROGRAM

arts night

To register for this free program and receive the link, click here.

During the pandemic, the Emily Dickinson Museum is celebrating monthly Amherst Arts Night Plus with remote poetry readings every first Thursday.

In June we feature poems from Poetry In The Pandemic, a crowd-sourced poetry project organized by Haoran Tong. The reading will feature staff, students, and faculty of Amherst College, and will last approximately 40 minutes. This program is dedicated to graduating seniors everywhere, but especially to the Museum’s two graduating student employees, Anna Plummer and Jane Bragdon.

This month’s readers are:

Eliza Brewer: Eliza is a poet and essayist from Houston, Texas studying English and Philosophy at Amherst. Her work has appeared in Circus, Outrageous Fortune, Polaris, The Allegheny Review, and Glass Mountain. She is a big sister to four siblings who are her inspiration and purpose.

Kalidas Shanti: Kalidas ‘22 is a poet majoring English and Math. He is currently engaged in a couple personal writing projects. The first is a collection of poems written in response to being in quarantine. All of the poems are written in iMessage to his partner as a way of maintaining intimacy while being in a long-distance relationship. The other is an expansion of a past project.

Brenna Macaray: Brenna ‘21 is an artist and poet currently majoring in English at Amherst College. She works as the Design Librarian for the Thester and Dance Dept., and at the Emily Dickinson Museum since 2018 as a museum assistant and tour guide, an opportunity for which she is ever grateful. She’s also currently working on her creative thesis in poetry, a lyric essay revolving in part around Dickinson.

Kiera Alventosa: Kiera ‘21 is a poet and writer from Long Island, New York, studying English and Environmental Studies at Amherst College. She is the Editor in Chief of The Indicator magazine and her work has also appeared in Circus. She is a recipient of the 2020 Academy of American Poets prize. She strives to write about nature with an environmental activism and justice perspective.

Anna Plummer: Anna has just graduated from Amherst College, where she majored in English and Theater & Dance. In a world with 32 hour days, she would have majored in History, too. She is a proud member of the Emily Dickinson Museum community, where she has worked as tour guide and museum assistant for five years. Anna has also studied literature and poetry writing in Bath, England. 

Haoran Tong: (see below)

About the project:

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, socialize, and communicate with nature. Ever since the outbreak, stay-at-home measures have been imposed to protect the vulnerable community for the sake of public health. Faces are masked, interactions are distanced, routines are interrupted. In the process of containing the virus, hope emerges from the darkness as the curves flatten, thanks to the heroic essential workers and generous community members. However, many people also suffer from shocking news, lost lives, and fractured families. 

Amidst uncertainty and anxiety, poetry brings us hope, inspiration, and reflection. If the consoling and unifying power of poetry is forgotten in ordinary times, it is becoming ever more influential and desirable in trying times. On Instagram, reading a poem per day has become a cure for boredom and loneliness. When we read and write poetry, we do so to understand and connect with each other. Poetry reminds us of our inner qualities of empathy, unity, and freedom. 

To encourage the members of the Amherst community to lead a poetic life and overcome the difficult circumstances, Haoran Tong ‘23 creates a platform of poetry reading and writing. Alumni, faculty, staff, students, and families of Amherst College share their thoughts and expressions with others by submitting poems they have read or written during the pandemic. They may also provide a brief explanation of how they resonate with the poems in the context of the pandemic.”

About Haoran Tong:

Haoran Tong ’23, the organizer of the “Poetry in the Pandemic” project, is a first-year student at Amherst College, MA. His poetic journey started at the age of 4 in Beijing, China, where he was born and bred. He enjoys the works of Emily Dickinson, Du Fu, William Butler Yeats, Rabindranath Tagore, Adunis, Jorge Luis Borges, and Xi Chuan. He was awarded the Youth Poet Laureate of China in 2017. As a member of the Poets Unite Worldwide Association, he wants to promote intercultural exchange by exploring the possibilities of poetic form and expression. Besides poetry, he is a lover of choral singing, physics, and comparative legal studies.



poetry walk

Remote Program: Emily Dickinson Virtual Poetry Walk, May 15, 2020 from 12:00-1:00PM EST

Daisies at Dickinson’s grave

This program will be offered remotely! See below for more information on how to participate.

Join us for a beloved annual tradition: The Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk! This event honors the 134th anniversary of the poet’s death with readings of her poetry at historic sites around Amherst. To pay homage to Dickinson’s role in inspiring a new generation of writers, we will also be sharing original poems and thoughts written as part of ‘The World Writes Back: Postcards to Emily Dickinson’ project in December 2019. 



The World Writes Back, an installation of postcards to Emily Dickinson from around the world, was on display in the Homestead during December 2019.

This program is free and open to all. We will host this remote event on Zoom where you will see historical and contemporary images of each “stop” on the walk, and images of postcards. This is a participatory event! Those who wish to read should indicate this on their event registration form. Reading assignments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. The final “stop” is Dickinson’s grave in West Cemetery where we will offer final thoughts and a light-hearted virtual toast! Those who wish to do so, may submit a brief toast or remarks to the host to be shared at the conclusion of the “walk.”

To join the walk click this link at 12 p.m. (EST) on May 15, 2020

Enjoy a recording of this program:

Virtual Poetry Walk

Enjoy the 2020 Virtual Poetry Walk, which aired live on May 15. This beloved annual tradition honored the 134th anniversary of the poet’s death with readings of her poetry at historic sites around Amherst. In homage to Dickinson’s role in inspiring a new generation of writers, each stop features original poems and artwork from the 2019 project "The World Writes Back: Postcards to Emily Dickinson."

Posted by The Emily Dickinson Museum on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

poetry discussion group

Remote Program: Poetry Discussion Group, May 22, 2020

poetry discussion groupThe Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion Group meets monthly, September through May, for lively conversation about Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters. Each session is facilitated by a guest leader.
Join us for a remote zoom discussion from 12pm to 1:30pm on Friday, May 22. 

Topic: Emily Dickinson and the Mind

Poetry, for Emily Dickinson, is invested with inconceivable possibilities of signification. She reveled in the ecstatic “Madness” of meanings, since, to her, “Much Madness is divinest Sense.”Her forte is to transform the material to the metaphorical, and to question the notion of ‘reality’ as it is conventionally understood.

This session will feature Dickinson and philosophy, spanning her mental philosophy textbooks to parallels between her poetry and the writings of philosopher Immanuel Kant. Dickinson was, like Kant, intrigued with the relation between subject and object, and fascinated with the ‘transcendent’—that goes beyond the boundaries of empirical evidence. Together we will delve into Dickinson’s writing in a way that will allow us to critically appreciate the transcendental depth and autonomy of the poet’s mind.

 Leader: Mousumi Banerjee
Dr. Mousumi Banerjee is an engaged practitioner of the language and its varied manifestations in literature with a flair for research in poetry, the multiple hermeneutic possibilities of which caused her to look at women’s writing and authorial anxiety in her doctoral study that she pursued from Jadavpur University. The voices of women poets from those intellectual edges, that are hitherto identified as the ‘margins’ of literary writing, became the site of her inquiry which led her to publish considerably on the works of supposedly non-canonical women writers. Philosophical writings also enchant her and she looks forward to working on the textuality of such works by various Western thinkers across traditions of thought and practice. She is a passionate teacher in literature and contemporary theory, singer and music enthusiast, and loves to engage in deliberations on other humanistic discourses, in general, and on Emily Dickinson, in particular! She has authored books, named Writing across Genres: Indian Literature, Language and Culture (2015), Daring to Write: The Two Creative Daughters of Victorian England (2015), and Emily Dickinson: Writing as a Woman (2017), and currently has two on-going book-length projects: one on Gitanjali: An Exalted Manifestation of Buddhist Aesthetics, and the other on ‘A thought went up my mind today –’: An Inquiry into a Post-Kantian Transcendental Philosophy in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry. She has been awarded with the Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral Research Fellowship 2019-2020 by the United States- India Education Foundation (USIEF) to pursue her postdoctoral research, and presently she is associated with Amherst College for her work on the book on Dickinson. She greatly appreciates the continuous effort of the Emily Dickinson Museum not only in keeping the memory of the poet alive, but also in encouraging thought and scholarship on the poet’s spectacular poetic oeuvre so as to deeply influence our own lives. 
Registration for this event is now closed. If you have registered, we will email you by Monday, May 18 with a link and more information. Thank you for your interest in this program. If you were not able to join us this time, we hope to see you when the series resumes in September.

arts night 2

Amherst Arts Night Plus Remote Reading, May 7, 2020 6:30PM


arts night 2Monthly Amherst Arts Night Plus at the Emily Dickinson Museum celebrates contemporary art and poetry in our historic setting. In May we take this monthly event remote with readings by members of the Florence Poets Society!

Join us at 6:30PM for a remote reading from 10 members of the Florence Poets Society. The Society was founded in 2004 and publishes an annual review called SilkwormThis program will feature short readings by the following poets:  

Rosie McMahan breathes and writes and walks and gardens on the steppingstones of her life in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, trying to remember that every day is a new day.

Rich Puchalsky is a freelance librarian.

Marian Kent is the author of three poetry collections, Heart Container, SUPERPOWERS or: More Poems About Flying, and Responsive Pleading. She lives in Easthampton, MA with her family. You can follow Marian’s poetry and other missives at

Lanette Sweeney of South Hadley, MA, is a full-time writer thanks to her wife’s support; a published poet, fiction and essay writer; a novelist-in-progress; and a current MFA student at Western New England University.

Eileen P. Kennedy’s Banshees (Flutter Press, 2015) was nominated for a Pushcart and awarded Second Prize from the Wordwrite Books Award in Poetry. Her second collection, Touch My Head Softly is due out from Finishing Line Press in 2021. She lives in Amherst, MA with the ghost of Emily Dickinson. More at

Howie Faerstein’s most recent book is Googootz (Press 53). He presently volunteers as a mentor at the Center for New Americans and is co-poetry editor of CutThroat, A Journal of the Arts.

Brooks Robards has published five volumes of poetry including On Island. She has recently been published in periodicals: Avocet, Aurorean, Plainsongs, Fulcrum and Equinox. She lives in Northampton, MA, and summers on Martha’s Vineyard.

Linda Bratcher Wlodyka of Cheshire, MA likes to think someone out there in poetry land is wowed or entertained by her poems. That is what really matters to her.

Michael Favala Goldman is a widely-published translator of Danish literature and  a jazz clarinetist.  His new book of poetry is Who has time for this?

Lori Desrosiers’ poetry books are The Philosopher’s Daughter, Sometimes 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, from Glass Lyre Press. She edits two journals: Naugatuck River Review, a journal of narrative poetry and, an online journal dedicated to social justice.

Enjoy a recording of this past program:

Amherst Arts Night Plus – May 7, 2020

Amherst Arts Night Plus at the Emily Dickinson Museum celebrates contemporary art and poetry in our historic setting. In May we took this monthly event remote with readings by members of the Florence Poets Society! Don't miss this reading by ten area poets, who share their experiences and inspiration in the time of quarantine.

Posted by The Emily Dickinson Museum on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Posted by The Emily Dickinson Museum on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Featured artist: Tasha Robbins

This pop-up art show will be rescheduled later in 2020.

Now settled in Amherst MA, Tasha Robbins is a painter who has lived and worked in New York, Provincetown, Boston, Boulder, Santa Fe, San Francisco and New Orleans. Her Portrait of George Scrivani with a Photo of Vali Myers and Gregory Corso by Ira Cohen (2001) appeared in the exhibition “Poetry and Its Arts” at the California Historical Society in San Francisco in 2005. Portions of An Angel Alphabet/Malachim: Coming Out of Darkness (1988-98) have been shown
at Berkeley’s Judah Magnes Museum (“Personal Landscapes/Universal Visions”, 1990) and in Philadelphia at the Borowsky Gallery @ the Gershman Y/University of the Arts (“The Hidden Garden: Three Artists Explore Kabbalah”, 2005). The series was shown in its entirety for the first time at the Hampden Gallery at UMass Amherst in 2019. From the Aspect of Mercy (2000-03), a triptych regarding the Quan Yin, has hung in the Florence Biennale (2003); at the Aurora Gallery in the artist’s native Worcester, MA (“Psyche”, 2004); and at the Goldmine Saloon, home of New Orleans’ 17 Poets! and Festivals for the
Imagination (2004).
Her work has been reproduced in small press books and magazines (including Jeanne Lance’s
Loose Arrangements [Smithereens Press, 1984], Aaron Shurin’s Elsewhere [Acts Books, 1988]
and Codex [Meow Press, 1997]; FRAMMIS: A Tribute to Wallace Berman, MAG CITY, Gallery
Works, tripwire, YAWP, and others), and can be seen on the web at .
A 2014 Acker Award recipient, she appears in The Outlaw Bible of American Art (Last Gasp
Press, 2016). For more information visit