Amherst Poetry Festival

September 20-23, 2018

The Amherst Poetry Festival, now in its sixth year, celebrates the literary legacy and contemporary creativity of the Pioneer Valley and beyond. Organized by the Emily Dickinson Museum, this year's festival partners include the Amherst Business Improvement District, Mass Poetry, the Jones Library and other local businesses and organizations. Admission to festival events is free unless otherwise noted. Festival buttons are available at all events for a suggested donation of $15/person.

festival schedule

Stay tuned for further details!

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 20: Festival kicks off at the Amherst Block Party

  • 7PM Doughnuts and Death: A Baker’s Dozen of Emily Dickinson’s Most Depressing Poems at West Cemetery



    • 5-6:30PM "We grow Accustomed to the Dark" exhibit and reading at the Herter Gallery at UMass Amherst. Poets (Leslie Edwards, Mia Kang, and Sarah Sousa) read alongside contemporary artworks curated by Omid Shekari. Exhibited artists include MFA students (Amanda Boggs, Kathryn Faneli, Althea Keaton, Bibiana Medkova, Kenneth Murphy, Xuan Pham, and Margaret Wilson); painters Kelly Popoff and Nikki Maloof; local artist Kelsi Giguere; and photographer Garrison Greenleaf.
    • 8PM Poetry in the Planetarium with the Astro Poets at Bassett Planetarium. The Astro Poets, Dorothea Lasky and Alex Dimitrov, began publishing under their Twitter account @PoetAstrologers shortly after Donald Trump was elected in 2016. Since then, the New York-based poets have attracted more than 331,000 followers, write a monthly column in W magazine, and have a book coming out in the fall. Together, the pair mix  humor and pop culture references with moments of sincerity about the sun and the stars. They are known for their horoscopes, posted every Sunday, as well as their recurring “series” features.






 6AM-9PM The Emily Dickinson Museum and Mass Poetry present the Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon, a one-day reading of all 1,789 of Dickinson’s poems at the Emily Dickinson Museum

10:30AM Poetry Reading at the Jones Library

1:30PM Poetry writing workshop for adults and kids, facilitated by author Burleigh Muten, in Emily Dickinson's garden

The NoNo Project, a collaboration of Union Street Records and Attack Bear Press at Hope and Feathers 

8PM Ocean Vuong  in Emily Dickinson’s garden. 

About Ocean Vuong: Ocean Vuong is the author of the debut novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin, 2019). He is also the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds,a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, his honors include

fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize.Vuong's writings have been featured in The AtlanticHarpers, The Nation,New RepublicThe New YorkerThe New York TimesThe Village Voice, and American Poetry Review, which awarded him the Stanley Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. Selected by Foreign Policy magazine as a 2016 100 Leading Global Thinker, alongside Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-Moon and Justin Trudeau, Ocean was also named by BuzzFeed Books as one of “32 Essential Asian American Writers” and has been profiled on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PBS NewsHour, Teen VogueVICEThe Fantastic Man, and The New YorkerBorn in Saigon, Vietnam, he lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he serves as an Assistant Professor in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at Umass-Amherst.



9PM Latenight Garden Party at the Emily Dickinson Museum featuring Kimaya Diggs: Celebrate the end of the Poetry Festival with food, drink, music, and more!



  • TBA jubilat/Jones reading at Jones Library