Emily Dickinson's handwriting on a letter and envelope

Poetry Discussion Group:
Spring 2023 Series

Emily Dickinson's handwriting on a letter and envelopeJoin us for a lively virtual discussion of Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters, meeting once a month from February to May. This program is designed to welcome newcomers and seasoned readers of Dickinson alike. 

Each session is facilitated by a guest scholar with unique expertise, who leads the group in discussion following an introductory talk. Brief reading handouts will be distributed prior to each month’s program. February and May’s sessions will be extended, for those who would like more time to connect with fellow group members.

Topics and Leaders:
  • February: “I think the Hemlock likes to stand”: Emily Dickinson’s Trees with Marta McDowell
  • March:The Life That Tied Too Tight Escapes”: The Visual Legacy of Dickinson’s Imaginary with Zoë Brigley
  • April: “…an instant’s act”: Exploring the Architecture and Ecology of Ruins in Dickinson’s Poetry” with Ryan Heryford
  • May:  “Emily Dickinson’s Master Hours”: Reading Dickinson’s Master Letters with Marta Werner

As a registrant, you are signing up to join a small group of 30 or fewer regular participants for four 90-minute zoom sessions. Meetings are participatory, with video and audio encouraged. Because we want everyone to feel comfortable speaking, sessions will not be recorded. The program is designed for adult audiences (18+).


Registration is now closed. Thank you for your interest!
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We are offering an identical program for the Wednesday and Friday groups. Please review the dates carefully. Because space is limited, we hope only those who can commit to attending will register. Refunds are not available for this program.

Wednesday Group, $100 program fee (inclusive of all sessions),  limited to 30 participants
February 22, 6-7:30 ET, optional sign-on at 5:30 to meet the group!
March 22, 6-7:30 ET
April 19, 6-7:30 ET
May 17, 6-7:45 ET

Friday Group, $100 program fee (inclusive of all sessions), limited to 30 participants
February 24, 12-1:30 ET, sign on at 11:30 to meet the group!
March 24, 12-1:30 ET
April 21, 12-1:30 ET
May 19, 12-1:45 ET

Reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis.

Questions: Don’t hesitate to reach out at edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org with any questions about the program.


“I think the Hemlock likes to stand”: Emily Dickinson’s Trees

Marta McDowell teaches landscape history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden and consults for private clients and public gardens. Her latest book, Unearthing The Secret Garden explores the plants and places that inspired Frances Hodgson Burnett to write the classic children’s book. Timber Press also published Emily Dickinson’s Gardening LifeThe World of Laura Ingalls WilderAll the Presidents’ Gardens, and Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life. All the Presidents’ Gardens made The New York Times bestseller list and won an American Horticultural Society book award in 2017. Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life won the Gold Award from the Garden Writers Association and is now in its eighth printing. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Japanese and Korean. She is the 2019 recipient of the Garden Club of America’s Sarah Chapman Francis Medal for outstanding literary achievement. martamcdowell.com


The Life That Tied Too Tight Escapes: The Visual Legacy of Dickinson’s Imaginary, featuring the art of Victoria Brookland

Zoë Brigley is the author of three books of poetry published by Bloodaxe: Hand & Skull (2019), Conquest (2012), and The Secret (2007), and recently published chapbooks with Broken Sleep: Aubade After A French Movie (2020), and Verve: Into Eros (2021). She also wrote a collection of nonfiction essays Notes from a Swing State (Parthian 2019) and co-wrote a pamphlet of creative nonfiction with Kristian Evans, Otherworlds: Writing on Nature and Magic (Broken Sleep 2021). Brigley is Assistant Professor in English at the Ohio State University where she produces an anti-violence podcast: “Sinister Myth”. She won an Eric Gregory Award for the best British poets under 30, was Forward Prize commended, and is listed in the Dylan Thomas Prize. zoebrigley.com/


“…an instant’s act:’ Exploring the Architecture and Ecology of Ruins in Dickinson’s Poetry”

Ryan Heryford is Associate Professor of Environmental Literature in the Department of English at California State University East Bay, where he teaches courses in nineteenth and twentieth century American literature, with a focus in cultural narratives of environmental justice.  Recent publications can be found in ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies of Literature and the Environment, The Mark Twain Annual, and The Emily Dickinson Journal.


 “Emily Dickinson’s Master Hours”: Reading Dickinson’s Master Letters

Marta Werner is the Martin J. Svaglic Chair in Textual Studies at Loyala University in Chicago. She is the author/editor of Emily Dickinson’s Open Folios: Scenes of Reading, Surfaces of Writing (1995), Radical Scatters: An Electronic Archive of Emily Dickinson’s Late Fragments and Related Texts, 1870-1886 (1999), and Writing in Time: Emily Dickinson’s Master Hours ( 2021). Werner is currently working on two related projects: a sound installation of Dickinson’s bird-poems that seeks to re-conceive the archive as a living, evolving, but also dying space, and a collection of essays titled “‘Conjecturing a Climate’: Reading Dickinson at the End of the World.”

Posted in Past Events.