eric nathan

“Some Favored Nook”: A Song Cycle by Eric Nathan, October 6, 2019

4PM-5:30PM at The Amherst Woman’s Club, 35 Triangle Street, Amherst

“moving… momentous… captivatingly rich… breathtaking… stunning…
a work that deserves to be heard again and again.” —TheaterJones

The Emily Dickinson Museum is pleased to present “Some Favored Nook,” a song cycle by Eric Nathan inspired by the significant correspondence between Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Eric Nathan’s original composition places Dickinson and Higginson’s writings at the center of the music, using these pivotal texts as a lens through which to view the social, political, and cultural issues of this chapter in American history. Filled with themes of abolition, civil rights, women’s rights, the effects of war, love, and death, the song cycle will be performed on Sunday, October 6.

The correspondence between Dickinson and Higginson spanned twenty-four years and offers an intimate look into Dickinson’s private world as well as Higginson’s involvement in major social and political issues of the day. As the commanding officer of the First South Carolina Volunteers, the first black regiment in the Civil War, Higginson was also a noted supporter of women poets and published the first collection of Dickinson’s poetry after her death. Nathan’s work sets excerpts from Dickinson’s letters and poems sent to Higginson to music, along with excerpts from Higginson’s essays and diaries, since many of his letters in reply are lost.

*Parking for this event is available at the Amherst Woman’s Club 

Tickets for this event may now be purchased online. Tickets will also be available at the door. 

Please email for more information.

About the artists:

Eric Nathan, Composer

Eric Nathan‘s music has been called “as diverse as it is arresting” with a “constant vein of ingenuity and expressive depth” (San Francisco Chronicle), “thoughtful and inventive” (The New Yorker), and “clear, consistently logical no matter how surprising the direction, and emotionally expressive without being simplistic or sentimental” (New York Classical Review). Nathan is a 2013 Rome Prize Fellow and 2014 Guggenheim Fellow, and has garnered acclaim internationally through performances by Andris Nelsons and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic’s Scharoun Ensemble, soprano Dawn Upshaw, violinist Jennifer Koh, at the New York Philharmonic’s 2014 and 2016 Biennials, and at the Tanglewood, Aspen, Aldeburgh, Cabrillo, Yellow Barn, and MATA festivals. Nathan currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music in Composition-Theory at Brown University.

Tony Arnold, Soprano

“Soprano Tony Arnold is a luminary in the world of chamber music and art song.  Today’s classical composers are inspired by her inherently beautiful voice, consummate musicianship, and embracing spirit” (Huffington Post).  Hailed by the New York Times as “a bold, powerful interpreter,” she is internationally acclaimed as a leading proponent of contemporary music in concert and recording, having premiered hundreds of works by established and emerging composers.  Since becoming the first-prize laureate of both the 2001 Gaudeamus International Competition (NL) and the 2001 Louise D. McMahon Competition (USA), Tony Arnold has collaborated with the most cutting-edge composers and instrumentalists on the world stage and shares with audiences her “broader gift for conveying the poetry and nuance behind outwardly daunting contemporary scores” (Boston Globe).  Her unique blend of vocal virtuosity and communicative warmth, combined with wide-ranging skills in education and leadership were recognized with the 2015 Brandeis Creative Arts Award, given in appreciation of “excellence in the arts and the lives and works of distinguished, active American artists.”

William Sharp, Baritone

Praised by the critic of the New York Times as a “sensitive and subtle singer” who is able to evoke “the special character of every song that he sings,” baritone William Sharp continues to garner critical acclaim for his work in concerts, recitals, operas and recordings. In the summer of 2019, he sang Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with American Bach Soloists, a recital of Schoenberg and Weill at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and a recital of Farwell songs in a return to the Washington National Cathedral. Among Mr. Sharp’s engagements in the 2019-20 season are Bach’s St. John Passion with Tafelmusik.

Molly Morkoski, Pianist

Pianist Molly Morkoski has performed as soloist and collaborative artist throughout the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean, and Japan. Her playing has been recognized by the New York Times as “strong, profiled, nuanced… beautifully etched…  an energetic and focused player…  with flexibility and warmth…,” and the Boston Globe called her “outstanding.” In 2007, she made her solo debut in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage playing Beethoven’s Bagatelles, Op. 126. As a soloist, she enjoys championing the classics, such as Bach’s Goldberg Variations and contemporary masterworks such as Ives’ Concord Sonata and Messiaen’s Vingt regards sur l’enfant-Jésus, as well as premiering new works of current composer colleagues, such as John Harbison, Steven Mackey, and Gabriela Lena Frank. Molly Morkoski has performed in many of the country’s prestigious venues, including Weill and Zankel Halls, Alice Tully Hall, Merkin Hall, (Le) Poisson Rouge, Boston’s Gardner Museum and Jordan Hall, St. Louis’ Powell Hall, Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center, and Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian. Internationally, she has performed at the Teatro Nacional in Santo Domingo, the Strasbourg Conservatoire, the U.S. Embassies in Paris and Nice, and in Japan’s Suntory Hall. She has performed concertos with the Raleigh, Asheville, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Tuscaloosa Symphonies, and with the Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra. 

arts night plus

Amherst Arts Night Plus Open Mic with Cameron Awkward-Rich, October 3, 2019

Join us at the Emily Dickinson Museum during Amherst Arts Night Plus on October 3, 2019 for our monthly open mic and pop-up contemporary art exhibit! Poets, writers, performers, and art appreciators of all kinds are welcome! Come early to view the art exhibition in the Homestead by our featured artist. The open mic begins at 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by this month’s featured reader. Those who would like to share their work during the open mic should arrive between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. to sign up.

Views expressed by poets, artists and open mic participants are their own and not the Emily Dickinson Museum’s. Arts Night programming may contain sensitive material.


Picture of Cameron Awkward Rich

Cameron Awkward-Rich is the author of Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and Dispatch (Persea Books, 2019). A black/trans poet and critic, his work can be found in American Poetry Review, The Baffler, Narrative, Signs, American Quarterly, and elsewhere.

Cameron is a Cave Canem fellow, a poetry editor for Muzzle Magazine, and an assistant professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 



Chrissy Howland was born in Baltimore, Maryland and received her BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012.  She has held solo and group exhibitions in Paris, Italy, and Maryland.  Howland seeks to recreate the archetype of the female artist/academic/intellectual as a positive icon without a major association to neurosis, mental illness, and romantic love. She seeks to reinterpret the autobiographical narrative and present a new position for these women within the pop culture canon. Her work aims to dismantle the notion of romanticized pain and female hysteria while creating and maintaining an elevated position and renewed reputation for female artists as women who are powerful, creative, and influential.


The Jazz Mesmerizers will perform at 5:30 p.m.

Tom Williams, guitarTom is a multi-instrumentalist who holds a degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Arizona. Upon graduation, he furthered his studies at the Frank Rumoro Jazz Guitar Academy in Chicago. He has played in jazz, rock, and country music ensembles for the past thirty-five years. Tom also gives private music lessons for guitar, piano, bass (upright and electric), ukulele, and voice.
Pete Sikowitz, bass.  Pete started playing bass violin and Fender bass at age fourteen. While attending Hampshire College, he connected with a group of jazz musicians where he became entranced by the music of such artists as John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis. After taking a hiatus from music to pursue a New York publishing career, Pete returned to the Pioneer Valley in 2016 to focus on music full time. He also plays guitar and lap steel guitar in Flathead Rodeo, Western New England’s foremost rockabilly/roots band, where he slips extended chords in where he can. 
poetry discussion group

Poetry Discussion Group, September 20, 2019

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion Group meets monthly, September through May, for lively conversation about Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters.

Location: The Center for Humanistic Inquiry, on the second floor of Amherst College’s Frost Library.
Time: 12pm to 2pm (plan to arrive early to check in)

  • $12 Friends, $15 Public
  • Participants should proceed directly to the Library and do not need to stop at the Museum.
  • While no RSVP is required, participants are invited to email to receive a list of poems for discussion. Poems will be distributed one week in advance of the program.
  • Attendees are welcome to bring a bag lunch. Beverages and a sweet snack are provided

This month’s discussion will center on poems that highlight the bee as protagonist or speaker. Because of her fascination with botany and the garden, Dickinson constantly transformed the figure of the bee. Bees are viewed in various guises, including artists, pirates, gentle or jealous lovers, and even cheerful correspondents. This program will unpack how a poet (or anyone) can view one creature through many lenses. 

Facilitator: Susan Goldwitzis an award-winning poet who, after teaching literature on the university level, has expanded her expected circumference to include a new passion, beekeeping, which she has practiced for eight years. She is continually inspired by Emily Dickinson’s ability to view this one little creature in many aspects.

arts night

Amherst Arts Night Plus and Open Mic, September 5, 2019

Join us during Amherst Arts Night Plus on September 5, 2019 for our monthly celebration of local art! At our open mic, poets, writers, and performers of any kind are welcome! Come early to view the pop-up, contemporary art exhibition in the Homestead by our featured artist. The open mic begins at 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by this month’s featured readers. Those who would like to share their work should arrive between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. to sign up.

“Mt. Norwottuck and Apple Trees” 15 X 22″ oil crayon 2018

Featured artist: Lorna Ritz, pop-up exhibition on view 5-8PM

September’s pop-up exhibition will feature a series of drawings of the Holyoke Range by Lorna Ritz. Taking the the range Emily Dickinson could see from her windows as inspiration, Ritz’s drawings focus on Mt. Norwottuck. The range, which was glacially formed, is one of the only east-west axis range mountains in the country. In her process, the mountains feel so close you could almost touch them. Ritz works many hours at a time, several days in a row to complete her drawings. Each piece has an immediacy to it, but the time it takes to complete means the light is ever-changing; it’s her own personal artistic paradox. The drawings are the consequence of technique, skill, and concept. 

Featured reader: Libby Maxey

Libby Maxey’s new book of poems, ‘Kairos’, was released in summer 2019. She has a BA in English from Whitman College and an MA in medieval studies from Cornell University. She is a senior editor at the online journal Literary Mama, where she has been a part of the Literary Reflections department since 2012, and she reviews poetry for The Mom Egg Reviewand Solstice. Her own poems have appeared in KestrelPinyonEmrysCrannóg Magazine, and elsewhere. Her nonliterary activities include singing classical repertoire and mothering two sons. She lives with her family in Western Massachusetts.



Free Fun Friday, August 23, 2019 from 10AM-5PM

Join us for Free Fun Friday at the Emily Dickinson Museum on Friday, August 23! Sponsored by the Highland Street Foundation, this series allows free entry to museums goers at many museums across Massachusetts. Visit the Emily Dickinson Museum on August 23 for free admission to the Homestead, where Emily Dickinson wrote nearly all of her poetry, and her brother’s home, the Evergreens. Read on for tips on how to make your Free Fun Friday at the Emily Dickinson Museum the most fun possible!

On Free Fun Friday, the Emily Dickinson Museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

What to Expect during Your Visit
The Emily Dickinson Museum consists of  3 acres, 2 historic houses—the Homestead, where the poet was born and lived most of her life, and The Evergreens, the home of the poet’s brother—and the story of 1 exceptional poet!  

On Free Fun Friday you can enjoy self-guided tours of the Homestead and The Evergreens with guides on hand to answer questions. A scavenger hunt through the houses invites you to look closely at the historic furnishings used by the Dickinson family. On the Museum grounds, visit the craft tent for fun for all ages. Explore the “Grounds of Memory” with the EDM’s self-guided audio tour. Pollinator Bingo in the garden will also be available! The Museum also has a gift shop with Dickinson-related books and other items appropriate for all shoppers. 

The day will also include this special program:  Author Krystyna Poray Goddu will be on site offering readings and signing copies of her newly released Dickinson biography for middle-grade readers, Becoming Emily. Catch a reading at 11:30AM or 1:30PM.

Krystyna Poray Goddu

Krystyna Poray Goddu is author of “Becoming Emily: The Life of Emily Dickinson,” the picture-book biography of “Alicia Markova: An Unlikely Ballerina,” and the middle-grade biography “A Girl Called Vincent: The Life of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay,” winner of the SCBWI 2017 Golden Kite Honor Book for Nonfiction, and co-author, with her cousin Krystyna Mihulka, of Mihulka’s childhood memoir: Krysia—A Polish Girl’s Stolen Childhood During World War II: A Memoir.  She has written many books for the educational market, and her work has appeared in American Girl magazine, The New York Times Book Review, and the Riverbank Review of Books for Young Readers. She is a regular writer and reviewer of children’s books for Publishers Weekly. She holds a degree in comparative literature from Brown University, has taught reading and writing in independent schools in Manhattan and loves visiting schools to present programs about the subjects of her books.


Photograph of children gathering around a book in the Dickinson library

Directions to the Museum from Interstate 91 and the Boston area are available here

Parking is available in several locations. Amherst College’s Alumni Parking lot (see map) will offer free parking for the day as well as the side streets near the Museum. Metered parking is in effect on Main Street, in front of the Museum. Accessible parking spaces are available. Please note that the Museum driveway is for dropping off passengers and for accessible parking only. All other vehicles must park in the locations described above.


Although the Museum does not have formal picnic facilities, visitors are welcome to eat food and drink on the grounds.  Food and drink are not permitted inside either the Homestead or The Evergreens.  The Museum does not have a food service facility, but bottled water, juice, and snacks will be for sale.  The Museum is within easy walking distance of many dining establishments in the center of Amherst.

We are delighted to welcome visitors of all ages!  Please note: children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult when entering the museum houses.   Baby strollers and back carriers are welcome on the grounds but must be left outside when entering museum buildings.  

The Tour Center and first floors of the Homestead and The Evergreens are accessible to individuals with mobility challenges. Because of the historic nature of the two Dickinson houses, neither house includes an elevator to the second floor. Visitors who are unable to use stairs are provided with illustrated notebooks that describe the exhibits upstairs in each house, and guides are happy to answer questions about upstairs rooms. Service dogs are welcome throughout the property, including both historic houses. For specific questions about accessibility at the Museum please contact

Other Guidelines

Inside the Museum buildings, please note the following:

  • Photography and video recordings are not permitted inside museum buildings.
  • Food and beverages are not permitted inside museum buildings. Visitors will be asked to leave any food and beverages they have outside the museum building before entering.
  • For the safety of museum collections, visitors are not permitted to touch museum objects.

“To another Sea”: Dickinson, Environment, and the West, August 8-11, 2019

Emily Dickinson wrote that, while she “never saw a moor” or “the sea,” she knew “how the heather looks” and “what a billow be.” She knew, too, the sea’s swells, tides, mysteries, and familiar creatures. This year, the 2019 Emily Dickinson International Society Conference will take scholars to the heart of this place that Dickinson explored in her poetry, to Asilomar in California, between August 8 and 11.

The conference will feature panels by international scholars on a variety of topics, including critical interpretations of Dickinson’s poetry and letters in light of water, environmental criticism, non-human studies, plant studies, creativity and imagination, ecology, geography, and landscape. A variety of panels, round tables, and flash presentations will fill the conference’s days and nights, which participants will spend by the sea, facing West.

Poet reading at a microphone in the museum

Amherst Arts Night Plus Open Mic, August 1, 2019

Join us during Amherst Arts Night Plus on August 1, 2019 for our monthly Open Mic. Poets, writers, and performers of any kind are welcome! Come early to view the pop-up, contemporary art exhibition in the Homestead by our featured artist and take in a movement performance in the site-specific art installation in the conservatory. The open mic begins at 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by this month’s featured readers. Those who would like to share their work should arrive between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. to sign up.


front cover O'Carroll

The Joke’s on Me by Chris O’Carroll was published in early 2019



Featured poet: Chris O’Carroll, following the open mic

Chris O’Carroll is an actor, comedian, and Light magazine featured poet whose work has appeared in The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology. He has won British prizes from Flash 500, Literary Review, The New Statesman, The Oldie, and The Spectator. A native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, he has lived in England, Canada, and many parts of the U.S., including New Orleans, New York City, and Emporia, Kansas. He now resides in Western Massachusetts with his wife, historian Karen Manners Smith. His book of poems, The Joke’s on Me, was published by White Violet Press earlier this year. 

Featured artist: Madge Evers

Madge Evers is fascinated by nature’s ability to repurpose organic matter. Her work originates in the soil of urban and rural landscapes, using materials she grows or forages. The fungi kingdom knows no waste and makes the detritus of the plant and animal kingdoms live again. Mushroom spores’ primary goal is to establish a larger community. Evers work uses fungi to create imagery that shows the inner workings of nature – imagery that belies their reputation for decay. 

Forest, Deep and Mighty, mushroom spores on paper, 11 x 15 inches, 2018

Artist Bio: Madge Evers grew up in Connecticut and lives in western Massachusetts. In her early years, she was a fine arts photographer with an interest in portraiture and the human form. She studied at the Maine Photographic Workshop, has a B.A. in English from Suffolk University, and an M.A. from the University of Rhode Island. Madge’s work originates from her passion for gardening and growing things. She cultivates Stropharia rugosoannulata in her garden and forages for mushrooms in woods and fields. Both provide her with a renewable source of spore “ink.” When not making spore prints, Madge can be found teaching high school English or somewhere in the garden. Find out more about Madge Evers here.

“In Suspension”

Also on view this evening is our Conservatory Art Installation Exhibit, “In Suspension,” by Tereza Swanda, Ingrid Pichler, and Fletcher Boote. As part of Arts Night Plus, the exhibit will be activated by movement performed by Kelly Silliman at 5:30 and 6PM.

Kelly Silliman will be activating the conservatory with movement as part of “In Suspension.” She has created a site-specific dance piece inspired by the shapes and movements of Tereza Swanda’s installation, and by the variant wordings found in the editing process of Emily Dickinson’s poems. The dance is intended to be viewed from all directions, and from both inside and outside the conservatory. Audience members are invited to move to a different viewing spot at any point in the piece. 

Tereza Swanda, one of three artists who created “In Suspension,” will speak about the work at the beginning of the open mic.

kelly illiman in conservatory

Amherst Arts Night Plus Open Mic, July 11, 2019

Join us during Amherst Arts Night Plus on July 11, 2019 for our monthly Open Mic. Poets, writers, and performers of any kind are welcome! Come early to view the  contemporary art exhibition in Homestead conservatory. The open mic begins at 6:00 p.m. and will be followed by a talk by this month’s featured artist. Those who would like to share their work should arrive between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. to sign up.

Featured Artwork

On view from 5pm to 8pm

This month’s featured artwork is our Conservatory Art Installation Exhibit, “In Suspension,” by Tereza Swanda, Ingrid Pichler, and Fletcher Boote. The exhibit will be accompanied by a dance piece performed by Kelly Silliman. 

Featured Performance

Kelly Silliman dancing on stage

5:45pm, second performance following Open Mic

Kelly Silliman will be activating the conservatory with movement as part of In Suspension. She has created a site-specific dance piece inspired by the shapes and movements of Tereza Swanda’s installation, and by the variant wordings found in the editing process of Emily Dickinson’s poems. The dance is intended to be viewed from all directions, and from both inside and outside the conservatory, and witnesses are invited to move to a different viewing spot at any point in the piece, if they wish. 

Tereza Swanda, one of three artists who created “In Suspension”, will speak about the work following the open mic, around 6:45PM.



“Buccaneers of Buzz” – A Children’s Circus, July 20, 2019

Bees are Black – with Gilt Surcingles –
Buccaneers of Buzz – 
Ride abroad in ostentation
And subsist on Fuzz –   (Fr1426)

Families are welcome at this celebration of all things pollination at the Emily Dickinson Museum Children’s Circus! Did you know Dickinson wrote around 100 poems about bees? She was a keen observer of the natural world, where hummingbirds, butterflies, beetles and bees captured her imagination. Perhaps such pollinators fascinated Dickinson because of their contributions to her gardens! At our Circus, learn more about the continued important of pollinators today, and the things you can do at home to improve the environment for them.

The Circus is $5 per family/Free to Museum Friends.
Stop by between 12 and 3:30PM to see what all the buzz is about!

Children playing on stilts at the circus*Saturday will be hot, but the circus must go on! We will have cold water on hand, snacks and drinks for sale, and a sprinkler “cooling station”.

Ongoing Activities 

  • Learn all about bees from a local beekeeper, and visit garden educators from Book & Plow Farm!
  • Craft bee and butterfly finger puppets, or a handmade journal to take home
  • Become your favorite pollinator at our face painting station ($3/face), then snap a picture at the photo booth
  • Compete against other would-be-bees at our pollination bean bag toss and test your wits at our garden scavenger hunt
  • Take a family-friendly journey upstairs to Emily Dickinson’s bedroom


  • 12 p.m. Circus begins!
  • 12:30 p.m. A Visit to Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom (first come first served, tickets at Welcome Tent)
  • 12:45 p.m. Pollinator Relay Race
  • 1:15 p.m.  A Visit to Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom (first come first served, tickets at Welcome Tent)
  • 1:30 p.m. Music & Puppets with Tom Knight
  • 2:15 p.m. Garden Parade ending with the Emily Dickinson basket drop
  • 2:30 p.m. A Visit to Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom (first come first served, tickets at Welcome Tent)
  • 2:45 p.m. Pollinator Relay Race
  • 3 p.m. A Visit to Emily Dickinson’s Bedroom
  • 3:30 p.m. Circus ends

Tom Knight surrounded by puppetsTom Knight has been delighting children and their grown-ups with his original, interactive, musical puppet show since 1988.  His unique blend of musicianship and puppetry celebrates reading (“the Library Boogie”), the environment (“the Garbage Monster”), and science (“The Solar System”), with hand-made puppets, catchy songs, and a high degree of audience participation.  The strong visual elements appeal to children as young as 2, while fun lyrics engage children up to twelve, and adults alike. Following a successful puppetry career based out of Ithaca, New York, Tom relaunched his puppeteering business in Western Massachusetts. More info about Tom Knight.

Conservatory filled with green plants in front of a big window

Conservatory Art Installation Opening Reception, June 21, 2019


Friday, June 21 

6:30 to 8:00PM

Join us at The Emily Dickinson Museum to celebrate the opening of our inaugural Conservatory Art Installation! Light refreshments will be served and the artists will be present. All are welcome.

Artists Tereza Swanda, Ingrid Pichler, and Fletcher Boote are transforming the Conservatory with a site-specific mixed media installation. The work samples the colors of Emily Dickinson’s landscape in painted paper, and in colored gels that refract light through the space. A soundscape by Fletcher Boote wordlessly references Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

The exhibition will run through the summer.

Learn more about the installation here