Lettering on a sidewalk washed by rain

The Art of Rain Poetry

Proud Event Host of ArtWeek

In celebration of ArtWeek and National Poetry Month, the Emily Dickinson Museum will make poetry come to life when it rains in Amherst. See if you can spot all six selected poems around town from our Art of Rain Poetry competition. We promise these compositions will make even a soggy stroll delightful. As you discover the rain poems, be sure to snap a photo and tag it on social media with #ArtofRainPoetry !

Poems were selected after a call for submissions. Our thanks to the nearly 80 poets who sent in poems!

ANNOUNCING THE ART OF RAIN POETS:

Jill Hughes is a reader, seeker, observer of the humanities. She is a career student and apprentice, as well as a current co-owner at Collective Copies and Levellers Press. In 2017, she received her MA in Poetry and Poetics from the University of Maine, where she also co-founded a multidisciplinary performance series called The Happenings Series.

Loy Kong, a five-year-old student at Crocker Farm Elementary, has been in Amherst since last August. This is the first time that she has been in another country. She played alone for the first few months because of the language barrier, but she has always stayed positive and said, “Mommy, don’t worry. It is going to be ok.” Now she has good friends and she is so happy about that. She loves learning new things and writing poems.

Manuel Becerra is a Mexican poet who is working on a poetry book about Emily Dickinson. He is the author of five books and has won numerous national and international literature awards. His work has been translated into English, French and Italian. Becerra held a fellowship at Art Omi in New York, 2018. Find more of his poems here.

Margaret Winikates is a poet, author, and museum educator from Boston, MA.  She majored in English Literature and Language at Harvard University.  She currently works for the New England Museum Association, is a board member for the Museum Education Roundtable, and is a member of the Leadership Council for MassCreative.  Her poems, essays, and short fiction can be found at MassPoetry’s U35 archive, all the sins, the Center for the Future of Museums,  Window Cat Press, Connected at the Peabody Essex Museum, and Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, as well as at https://mwinikates.com/

 Howie Faerstein is a poet whose second full-length poetry collection, Googootz and Other Poems, published by Press 53 came out in September, 2018. His work can be found in numerous journals, including Great River ReviewNimrod, CutthroatUpstreetOff the CoastCape Cod Poetry Review, Mudfish, and on-line in Gris-Gris, and Connotation Press. He lives in Florence, Massachusetts. 

HOW TO FIND RAIN POEMS:
Use the map below to find the poems on a rainy day!

 Our Partners:

About Art Week: Presented by the Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center, ArtWeek is an annual award-winning innovative festival featuring more than 500 unique and creative experiences that are hands-on, interactive or offer behind-the-scenes access to artists or the creative process. ArtWeek was born in Boston in 2013 and now serves over 100 towns across Massachusetts as the signature nonprofit community program of the Boch Center.           

About Mass Poetry: Mass Poetry believes that words matter. They support poets and poetry in Massachusetts, help to broaden the audience of poetry readers, bring poetry to readers of all ages, and transform people’s lives through inspiring verse. They are a 501(c)(3) organization.

Poetry in the parlor

Amherst Arts Night Plus – May 2, 2019

Amherst Arts Night PlusMay Featured Readers

Hampshire College students of Professor Thuy Le Diem share their original compositions from the course, ‘Emily Dickinson’s Radical Poetics’.

Winners of the Five College Poetry Fest:

Olivia Caldwell is a Division II student at Hampshire College studying Poetry, Photography, and Sociocultural Anthropology. She is a pun enthusiast and cat mom who spends much of her time watching mid-2000s dramatic television and considering the fate of humanity. Her work can be found in Forest For The Trees Literary Journal and Enigma Literary Magazine.

Mars Early-Hubelbank is a soon-to-be graduate of Mount Holyoke College. Their identity lies at an intersection of Blackness and transness, to name a few things.

Lucy Liu studies studio art and poetry at Smith College. She grew up in Beijing, speaking and writing in English and Chinese.


Poetry in the parlor

First Thursday poetry readings at the Homestead

The Emily Dickinson Museum participates in Amherst Arts Night Plus on first Thursdays each month. Free and open to all! Each month enjoy the following:

  • 5PM-8PM View the pop-up exhibition of contemporary art in the Homestead
  • 5 to 6 pm: Open mic signups for poets, writers, performers of any kind. Share your work in a safe, welcoming, and inspiring place!
  • 6 pm: Open mic begins
  • Featured readers follow the open mic

Please note that the works of guest artists may contain sensitive or mature material and do not necessarily represent the views of the Emily Dickinson Museum.

poetry

Poetry Discussion Group – May 17, 2019

The Emily Dickinson Museum’s Poetry Discussion group meets monthly September through May (except for December) for lively conversation about Emily Dickinson’s poetry and letters.  Featured facilitators each month offer fresh perspectives on Dickinson’s poetry. While no RSVP is required, participants are invited to e-mail the Program Department to receive a list of poems for discussion.

Topic: How dreary–to be–Somebody!//How public–like a Frog–“: On uses of of nature, subjectivity and observation in E.D.
This discussion will explore Dickinson’s method of observation through a sampling of well-loved and lesser known poems. What natural elements or “characters” attract her atttention? After something captures her notice, what methods does she use to register it?

Polina Barskova, Associate Professor of Russian literature at Hampshire College, received her B.A. from St. Petersburg University and her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkely. Her scholarly publications include articles on Nabokov, the Bakhtin brothers, early Soviet film, and the aestheticization of historical trauma, primarily, culture of the Siege of Leningrad (1941-1944). She has also authored eight books of poetry and one book of prose in Russian. Three books of her poetry in English translation were published recently: This Lamentable City (Tupelo Press), Zoo in Winter (Melville House Press), Relocations (Zephyr Press).

Time: Noon – 2 p.m.

Location: The Poetry Discussion Group meets at the Center for Humanistic Inquiry, on the second floor of Amherst College’s Frost Library. Attendees are welcome to bring a bag lunch; beverages and a sweet snack are provided. Participants should report directly to the Library, and do not need to stop at the Museum.

Parking: Free parking for this program is available in the Amherst College Alumni Lot. Visitors to campus with any official state-issued Handicapped placards are permitted to park in any marked handicapped spot on campus without obtaining any additional permits from Amherst College.

See a campus map parking map.

Fee: The fee for Museum Friends is $12/session; the general fee is $15/session. Season subscriptions are $80 for Museum members and $105 for non-members. To become a Friend of the Emily Dickinson Museum and enjoy member discounts, click here.

For more information, contact the Program Department: edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org or call (413) 542-2034.

Poetry walk daises

Annual Poetry Walk – May 18, 2019

10:30AM to 12PM

Free and open to all

Emily Dickinson's graveThe Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk marks the anniversary of the poet’s death (on May 15, 1886) with readings of her poetry at historic sites around Amherst. This spring, the Walk will explore the poet’s many sources of inspiration, including the arts, nature, relationships and cherished books. In homage to Dickinson’s role in sparking our imaginations, we will also read a contemporary poem influenced by her life and work at each stop.

The Poetry Walk begins at 10:30 a.m. on the Homestead lawn and proceeds on foot through Amherst, stopping at sites significant in Dickinson’s life, and concluding at the poet’s grave in West Cemetery. At the cemetery, participants are invited to join in the traditional light-hearted lemonade toast to the Poet and to read a favorite Dickinson poem or original work in memory of the poet. 

The stops will be announced on this page in advance of the walk. Latecomers are welcome to join the tour at any stop. This year’s selection of poems will be read by volunteers from the audience. Participants may wish to bring their own copy of Dickinson’s poems to follow along. All who would like to read should arrive at the Homestead at 10:15 a.m. to receive an assignment; poems will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Participants are encouraged to carpool. Wheelchair accessible parking is available at the Homestead; all other vehicles are asked to park on the street or use town parking, a short walk from the Museum. For more information about accessibility on the Walk, call 413-542-2034. The Poetry Walk takes place rain or shine.

Poetry in the parlor

Amherst Arts Night Plus – June 6, 2019

June Featured Speaker

Emily Dickinson’s Garden by Marta McDowell

Following the relationship between the pen and the trowel led Marta McDowell to Emily Dickinson for Emily Dickinson’s Gardens and children’s author/illustrator Beatrix Potter for Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life. In 2017, All the Presidents’ Gardens, a book that relates the history of American gardening as seen through the White House grounds, made The New York Times bestseller list and won an American Horticultural Society book award. Marta’s latest, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, tells the tale of the plants and places of the beloved author of the Little House series. Marta also scripted the Emily Dickinson Museum’s landscape audio tour, and was an advisor for the New York Botanical Garden’s 2010 show, “Emily Dickinson’s Gardens: The Poetry of Flowers.”

June’s Featured Artist

Poetry in Silver: The Language of Flowers in the Works of Emily Dickinson by Kandy Vermeer Phillips

Poetry in Silver

Dickinson-inspired art by Kandy Vermeer Phillips

This pop-up exhibition features a series of silverpoint drawings that compares specimens found in Dickinson’s herbarium to those housed in the U.S. National Herbarium. Dickinson collected her specimens in the 1840’s from the woods, fields and bogs that surrounded her Amherst, MA home as part of her formal botany education. Poetry in Silver highlights several of these cherished woodland flowers that inspired Dickinson’s poetry along with her use of the popular Language of Flowers. Silverpoint drawing is a Renaissance technique and is ideal for close observational botanical drawing. A silverpoint drawing’s unique tendency to develop a patina over time also provides a metaphor for a plant’s evolving environmental status from the mid-19thcentury to the present day.  Although Dickinson’s herbarium is now over 175 years old, it continues to speak, and remains a significant part of her letter to the world. 

Kandy Vermeer Phillips has been drawing with silverpoint since the 1970’s. This exhibition is a part of her recent Julius I. Brown Award from the American Society of Botanical Artists. Kandy’s silverpoint drawings are included in the collections of The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, PA; The National Gallery of Art, and The National Museum of Natural History, Botany Department, Washington, DC.


Amherst Arts Night PlusThe Emily Dickinson Museum participates in Amherst Arts Night Plus on first Thursdays each month. Free and open to all! Each month enjoy the following:

  • 5PM-8PM View the pop-up exhibition of contemporary art in the Homestead
  • 5 to 6 pm: Open mic signups for poets, writers, performers of any kind. Share your work in a safe, welcoming, and inspiring place!
  • 6 pm: Open mic begins
  • Featured readers follow the open mic

Please note that the works of guest artists may contain sensitive or mature material and do not necessarily represent the views of the Emily Dickinson Museum.

a wheelbarrow for garden days

Garden Days at the Homestead, June 7-8, 2019

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

Homestead as seen from the Dickinson gardenVolunteer in the Garden

As warmer temperatures arrive in Amherst, it’s time to wake up Emily Dickinson’s garden. We invite you to join a group of volunteers from Amherst and beyond who return each year 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 and be a part of a new generation of caretakers for this historic landmark. In addition to working with master gardener Marta McDowell, volunteers will have the chance to tour the archaeological field school occurring at the Emily Dickinson Museum. Garden volunteer times:

Friday, June 7 from 9AM-1PM

Saturday, June 8 from 9AM-2:30PM 

Volunteers should sign-up in advance for either or both days by e-mailing EDMPrograms@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org.

About Marta McDowell:

Following the relationship between the pen and the trowel led Marta to Emily Dickinson for Emily Dickinson’s Gardens and children’s author/illustrator Beatrix Potter for Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life. In 2017, All the Presidents’ Gardens, a book that relates the history of American gardening as seen through the White House grounds, made The New York Times bestseller list and won an American Horticultural Society book award. Marta’s latest, The World of Laura Ingalls Wilder, tells the tale of the plants and places of the beloved author of the Little House series. Marta also scripted the Emily Dickinson Museum’s landscape audio tour, and was an advisor for the New York Botanical Garden’s 2010 show, “Emily Dickinson’s Gardens: The Poetry of Flowers.”

fascicle of some of Emily's poems bound with string

Writer’s Workshop: “First — Poets — Then the Sun —”

Tuesday, April 30 from 5-7 PM or Sunday, May 5 from 4-6 PM

Emily Dickinson—when she counted at all—counted poets first. In this intimate poetry workshop held during private hours at the Emily Dickinson Museum, be inspired by the space and place that informed Dickinson’s own revolutionary poetic voice. Adult writers of any level and degree of experience are welcome to participate in this workshop facilitated by poet and writing coach Burleigh Muten. A private tour and prompts based on Dickinson’s life and work will guide the workshop. Participants will spend time writing poetry in the historic rooms of the Dickinson Homestead, including the poet’s bedroom. Snacks will be provided.

PLEASE NOTE: SUNDAY, MAY 5 WORKSHOP IS FULL. ROOM REMAINS FOR THE TUESDAY WORKSHOP. (4/17)
  • The participation fee is $40 per person.
  • Workshop is offered twice, participants choose one date
  • Advance reservation is required and space is limited
  • To register please e-mail EDMPrograms@EmilyDickinsonMuseum.org and indicate your workshop date preference.

This program is offered as part of ArtWeek, presented by the Highland Street Foundation and produced by the Boch Center.

Burleigh Muten reads

Burleigh Muten reads

About the Facilitator: Burleigh Muten is a tour guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum and the author of Miss Emily a verse novel for young readers that celebrates the poet’s playful relationships with the children in her life. Muten is also a poet, a writing coach, and has led writing workshops and retreats for adults throughout New England. Visit Burleigh’s website: https://www.burleighmuten.com

 

 

Three smiling volunteers at the Amherst poetry fest, 2009

Amherst Art Walk with Jan Freeman and Ellen Hart

Date: Thursday, August 6, 2018
Time: 5-8 p.m.
Location:
Homestead Parlor

Join us for our monthly Amherst Art Walk program.

This month, poet and Paris Press Executive Director Jan Freeman and Ellen Hart, co-editor (along with Emily Dickinson International Society President Martha Nell Smith) of the Paris Press publication Open Me Carefully, will be the featured readers starting at 7 pm in the Homestead parlor. Freeman and Hart’s presentation will address women’s voices, past and present, in publication. Paris Press, founded in 1995 as a platform for overlooked women’s literature, published Open Me Carefully in 1998, which features Emily Dickinson’s 40-year correspondence with her sister-in-law and neighbor Susan Huntington Dickinson. Freeman and Hart’s readings will explore the arc of a relationship through these letters and through Freeman’s own contemporary poetry.

Tours of The Evergreens will also be offered for $5 from 5pm to 7 pm.

The Homestead's cupola and the moon

Amherst Art Walk Poetry Night with Tom Daley

Date: February 8, 2019
Time: 5 – 8 p.m.
Location: Homestead Parlor

The Emily Dickinson Museum hosts poet Tom Daley for our monthly Amherst Art Walk poetry night from 5 to 8 pm. Daley will read from his new collection, House You Cannot Reach-Poems in the Voice of My Mother and Other Poems, beginning at 6:45 pm in the Homestead parlor. $5 “Twilight Highlight” tours of the Homestead will also be offered from 5 to 6:30 pm.

Tom Daley was last at the Museum for the 2014 Amherst Poetry Festival, where he performed his Dickinson-themed play Every Broom and Bridget. A machinist for over two decades, Daley now leads writing workshops in the Boston area and online. Recipient of the Dana Award in Poetry and the Charles and Fanny Fay Wood Prize from the Academy of American Poets, his poetry has appeared in Harvard Review, Massachusetts Review, Fence, Denver Quarterly, Crazyhorse, Barrow Street, Prairie Schooner, Witness, and Poetry Ireland Review.

A Christmas tree in the Evergreens

A Dickensian Christmas with the Dickinsons

Date: December 19, 2015
Time: 11AM, 1PM, 2PM
Cost: $20 adults; $10 museum members; $5 for students grades K-12.

On this special family-friendly visit, revel in holiday traditions as we trace the history of Christmas celebrations in the two Dickinson households. A Museum guide will serve as your host for this unique exploration through the Homestead and The Evergreens. Evocative decorations, seasonal music, and new objects on exhibit will delight your holiday senses, and the words of Emily Dickinson and her family will bring their Christmas experiences to life. Each visit concludes with an intimate reading in The Evergreens from Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol by award-winning author and Dickens fan Tony Abbott!Read more