Emily Dickinson Poetry Discussion Group (2018 - 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  edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org to receive a list of poems for discussion.

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.

For a campus map, click this link

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.

 2018-2019 Season

  • Friday September 21, 2018

Session Topic: Tropic Hints
This discussion will take its inspiration from Dickinson's 1879 exchange with her Amherst childhood friend Helen Hunt Jackson. Jackson was much taken with Dickinson's bird poems, and suggested Dickinson try her hand at the oriole. Dickinson obliged with "One of the ones that Midas touched," and added, for good measure, her famous riddle poem "A route of evanescence." We will explore the themes and strategies of some of Dickinson's bird poems ("To hear an oriole sing," for example), with the discussion opening out on such topics as Dickinson and the tropics and Dickinson's riddle poems.

 Leader: Christopher Benfey is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books and the The New York Times Book Review. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is the author of four books about the American Gilded Age, including A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Martin Johnson Heade, which won the 2009 Christian Gauss Award of Phi Beta Kappa. Benfey was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012.

  • Friday October 19, 2018
  • Friday November 16, 2018
    Leader:  Renée Bergland
  • Friday January 18, 2019
  • Friday February 15, 2019
  • Friday March 15, 2019
  • Friday April 19, 2019
  • Friday May 17, 2019