“Poetry in the Garden” at the Emily Dickinson Museum July 10, 17, and 24

June 28, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum will host “Poetry in the Garden,” a series of Sunday afternoon readings of Dickinson's poems in the garden at the Homestead at 280 Main St. in Amherst, Mass. On Sunday, July 10, at 2 p.m., Alan Powers, professor of literature at Bristol Community College, will present “Dickinson's Birdtalk,” readings from works by Emily Dickinson that employ descriptions and images of birds. On Sunday, July 17, at 2 p.m., Harrison Gregg, moderator of Amherst Town Meeting, will focus on the poet's ironic and witty work in “Dickinson the Satirist.” On Sunday, July 24, at 2 p.m., “Dickinson's Most Enigmatic Poems” will be the focus of readings and discussion led by Susan Snively, director of the Writing Center at Amherst College.

The readings are free and open to the public. Parking is available on Main Street and side streets throughout downtown Amherst. Some seating will be provided, but audience members are invited to bring blankets or lawn chairs. In the case of rain, the events will move indoors. For more information, contact the Museum at 413/542-8161 or visit the Museum's Website.

Alan Powers has presented “Birdtalk” lectures at libraries in New England and the United Kingdom. He has made notable appearances on Italian radio and in poetry documentaries, including an appearance in “Loaded Gun: Life and Death of Dickinson.” He has published articles on a variety of topics including Shakespeare, Renaissance law and folklore. Currently, he is professor of literature at Bristol Community College where he teaches Shakespeare, western world literature, and poetry writing classes.

Harrison Gregg is associate director of institutional research at Amherst College and also serves as moderator of Amherst Town Meeting. For more than fifteen years he convened the annual Emily Dickinson Walk, precursor of the Museum's Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk. He still presides at the final stage of the Walk, at which audience members are invited to read Dickinson poems and toast her memory. He describes himself as an ardent admirer, interpreter, and memorizer of Dickinson's work.

Susan Snively is the author of three volumes of poetry, From This Distance (1981), Voices in the House (1988) and The Undertow (1998). Her fourth, Skeptic Traveler, will be published this fall. Her poems and essays have been published in a variety of literary journals. She has taught at Smith and Mt. Holyoke College, and now directs the Writing Center at Amherst College, where she also teaches.

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Amherst English Professor Allen Guttmann Receives Award for Sports: The First Five Millennia

June 9, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Allen Guttmann, the Emily C. Jordan Folger Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College, has won the annual Book Award of the North American Society for Sport History for Sports: The First Five Millennia (2005), a social history of the world's sports from pre-historical times to the present. Guttmann received the award at the Society's 33rd annual conference on May 30 in Green Bay, Wis.

A selection of the History Book Club, Guttmann's entertaining narrative traces the history of sports, plotting their evolution from “a myriad of particularistic pre-modern forms to the universalistic modern forms now taken for granted everywhere in the world.” Guttmann, who initially developed this scheme in From Ritual to Record (1978), adopts a global perspective that includes lengthy discussions of Asian, African and Latin American sports as well as those of Europe and North America. Illustrated with dozens of images, Sports presents a single comprehensive narrative, beginning with a discussion of what does and does not constitute a sport.

A member of the Amherst faculty since 1959, Guttmann is also the author of From Ritual to Record: The Nature of Modern Sports (1978), Women''s Sports: A History (1991), Games and Empires (1994) and The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games (2002). He received the first President's Award for Sports Studies from the International Olympic Committee in 2000.

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Emily Dickinson Museum Celebrates "Amherst Day" Sunday, June 26

June 9, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum will celebrate its annual “Amherst Day” on Sunday, June 26, marking the second anniversary of the joining of the Homestead and Evergreens as a single museum. Regular guided tours on that day are offered to town residents at half-price admission from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The Museum will also host a landscape walking tour of the historic Dickinson properties at 280 and 214 Main Street on June 26 at 2 p.m. Immediately following the outdoor event, the Museum will offer an open house at the Homestead and The Evergreens from 4 to 5 p.m.

The landscape walking tour, presented by John Martin, will discuss the significance and evolution of the historic landscape surrounding the Dickinson family homes on Main Street. Martin is professor emeritus in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

This year's “Amherst Day” focuses on landscape restoration, one aspect of the comprehensive master plan the Emily Dickinson Museum is compiling as a blueprint for restoration. The full master plan will provide guidance on future restoration of the Homestead, The Evergreens and the three-acre landscape they share. “The Emily Dickinson Museum has been working to establish a sound footing for the long-term preservation of the site, and especially the gardens that were so significant to all members of the Dickinson family,” said Jane Wald, the Museum's director for resources and collections.

“Documenting the historic landscape as it appeared and was used during the family's 19th century residence here will help us to revitalize the Dickinson properties as sensitively and appropriately as possible,” Wald said. “We'd like to share with the community what we're learning about the historic configuration of the property and the steps we're taking to develop a landscape restoration plan.” A grant from Community Preservation Act funds for landscape restoration planning at the Museum was recently approved by the Amherst Town Meeting.

Both the outdoor walking tour and the open house are free and open to the public, but reservations for the landscape tour are appreciated. For more information, please contact Patricia Gilrein at 413/542-2034 or pgilrein@emilydickinsonmuseum.org or visit the Museum's Website.

The Emily Dickinson Museum, comprising the Dickinson Homestead and The Evergreens, two historic house museums in Amherst, is devoted to the story and legacy of poet Emily Dickinson and her family. Both properties are owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. The Dickinson Homestead was the birthplace and residence of the poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). The Evergreens was the 1856 home of the poet's brother and sister-in-law, Austin and Susan Dickinson. The Emily Dickinson Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 until 5 p.m.

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Amherst College English Professor Judith Frank Receives Lambda Literary Award

June 3, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—Judith Frank, author and professor of English at Amherst College, has received a Lambda Literary Award for her novel Crybaby Butch (2004). The awards were presented last night in New York City at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York.

Winner in the Lesbian Debut Fiction category, Frank's first novel examines the surprising turns that issues of education, gender, class and racial identity can cause in people's lives, and explores the connection between two butches of different generations. One is a middle-class, 30-something adult literacy teacher-as Frank has been. The other is her older, working-class student.

The Lambda Literary Foundation is devoted to the promotion, preservation and publication of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender literature. The Lambda Literary Awards honor the best among thousands of nominations received from across the country. Five nominees are selected in each of 20 categories. A panel of 74 judges, chosen to represent the diversity of the LGBT literary community, selects the winners.

Crybaby Butch was recently nominated for American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Roundtable's 2006 Stonewall Book Awards, the oldest national book award given for outstanding achievement in that category, to be awarded next January at the annual conference of the ALA.

Frank has published stories in other voices and The Massachusetts Review, which published a chapter of Crybaby Butch for which Frank was awarded the fiction prize of the Astraea Foundation's Emerging Lesbian Writer's Fund in 2000.

Frank received a Ph.D. in English literature and an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Cornell University. Her published work includes the book Common Ground: Eighteenth-Century English Satiric Fiction and the Poor. She is currently working on a second novel, titled Noah's Ark, about a Jerusalem suicide bombing and an American couple's death that compels the husband's gay brother, Daniel, to adopt the orphaned children and take them back to the U.S.

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David Nash: The Language of Wood Sculpture at Mead Art Museum at Amherst College June 10 through July 31

June 3, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.—The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will present “David Nash: The Language of Wood: Sculpture and Drawings from the Andrew and Bronya Galef Collection” from Friday, June 10, through Sunday, July 31. This exhibition features 30 works by the contemporary British artist David Nash that were given to the Mead in 2004 by Andrew G. Galef (Amherst College Class of 1954) and his wife Bronya Galef.

Born in 1945, Nash is an environmental sculptor who now resides in Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales. Ash, birch, elm, lime, oak and other woods serve as his muse. His vision is propelled by live trees and other vegetative species—he is specifically inspired by their intrinsic forms and structures and the manner in which he can manipulate, stimulate and transform their growth.

Nash is internationally renowned for his sculptures and installations or plantings, and for the way in which he encourages and prunes, or “fletches,” this organic medium. Through the course of years, he has nurtured his living installations. Nash's ephemeral and conceptual works explore the ongoing and at times unpredictable forces of nature, as well as the delicate tension between the artist's hand and these elements. One of his most famous projects is the Ash Dome, which he first initiated in 1977 by planting a circle of 22 ash trees in Cae'n-y-coed, near his home on the coast of Wales. Over the years, Nash has directed and tended the growth of these trees while allowing the natural process to evolve. Through his patient efforts, the Ash Dome has matured, attaining mystical—even hallowed—status. Today, at the apex of its canopy of verdant foliage, there is a small dome through which sunlight can pass. Nash has documented the development of this grove with on-site drawings for years; 10 of these drawings are on view in the Mead's exhibition.

Nash's sculpture provides a commentary on the sublime and relentless forces of nature. Impelled by fallen or uprooted trees—the artist never cuts a healthy living tree down—these works rely on both his hand—which bears his mark by axe, chainsaw or fire—and the inherent properties of wood that cause it to crack, split, twist and warp. The Mead's collection includes several works that convey this tenuous relationship between intention and chance, strength and fragility.

David Nash is the subject of exhibitions in London this summer at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Annely Juda Gallery. His poetic and spiritual cultivations can be found growing in the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and the United States.

The Mead Art Museum is open this summer while the construction of the adjacent dormitories continues. A temporary entrance is provided and the museum remains wheelchair accessible; please call ahead for details. The Mead's summer hours are 12 noon to 4 p.m. until Sunday, July 31. The Mead will be closed to the public from Monday, Aug. 1 through Friday, Aug. 26, and will reopen the permanent galleries on August 27. Hours again will be noon to 4 p.m. Regular hours resume on Thursday, Sept. 22. For more information, see the museum's Website, or call 413/542-2335. All events are free and open to the public.

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