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BH-50557-13

Amherst College (Amherst, MA 01002-2372)
Cynthia Dickinson (Project Director: 03/07/2013 to present)

Emily Dickinson: Person, Poetry, and Place

Two one-week Landmarks workshops for eighty school teachers to study the poetry of Emily Dickinson in relation to her biography and surroundings.

Two one-week Landmarks workshops for eighty school teachers to study the poetry of Emily Dickinson in relation to her biography and surroundings. Cynthia Dickinson (no relation to the poet) leads a Landmarks workshop to explore Emily Dickinson's poetry at the Emily Dickinson Museum. The poet's work, among the finest in American literature, is intimately connected with the social, cultural, and natural environment in which she grew up. Interest in her poetry is further fueled by the mystique of her intensely private life. The workshop immerses participants in the environs where Dickinson lived and worked and thereby allows a rare entrée into her world and her poetry. During the week, participants explore Emily Dickinson as a writer and as a woman distinctly of her time and place. A number of Dickinson scholars-Martha Ackmann (Mount Holyoke College), Bruce Laurie (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Karen Sánchez-Eppler (Amherst College), and Emily Seelbinder (Queens University of Charlotte), among others-lead sessions. In addition to two texts of her poems and letters, other readings situate Dickinson's work in nineteenth-century New England. These include Cristanne Miller's 2012 study of the Civil War as seen through Dickinson's eyes, Richard Sewell's "Science and the Poet" on Emily Dickinson's herbarium, and Jane Wald's consideration of the poet's material world. Lectures, small-group poetry discussions, and time spent in the family houses and gardens structure the teachers' study. Beginning each day with a morning writing exercise, participants are also introduced to the Dickinson archives at nearby Amherst College. This large collection contains letters, drafts of and notes about her poems, and artifacts and images. Situating the workshop in Emily Dickinson's surroundings gives participants a deeper understanding of the poet and encourages them to translate their insights into usable curricula.

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Program:
Landmarks of American History

Division:
Education Programs

Total amounts:
$176,677 (approved)
$175,245 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2013 – 12/31/2014