Author Mark Costello Will Read Wednesday, Sept. 19, at Amherst College

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen
September 10, 2007
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.—Author Mark Costello will read from his work at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, in Pruyne Lecture Hall at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Amherst College Creative Writing Center, the event is open to the public at no charge.

The co-author, with David Foster Wallace, of Signifying Rappers: Rap and Race in the Urban Present, Mark Costello wrote his first novel, Bag Men, under the pseudonym John Flood while working as a federal prosecutor. But he was nominated as himself for a National Book Award for Big If, his story about a Secret Service agent, politics and paranoia. Writing for The New York Times, Jay McInerney called Big If “a dazzling performance….With this second novel, Costello enters the big leagues of American fiction.”

The Amherst College Creative Writing Center sponsors a yearly reading series featuring both emerging and established authors. For more information, please call 413/542-8200.

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Amherst College Will Celebrate 200th Anniversary of U.S.-Russia Relations with Dramatic Presentation Sunday, Sept. 23

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

September 10, 2007
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.—To mark the 200th anniversary of the establishment of official diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia, the Center for Russian Culture at Amherst College will host a dramatic presentation by actor and scriptwriter Jim Cooke.

The event will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, in the Center for Russian Culture (Webster Hall, second floor) at Amherst College. A reception will follow. The event is open to the public at no charge.

The program will take the form of a dramatic dialogue between Adams’ biographer, Dr. Lynn Parsons, and contemporary professional actor and scriptwriter Jim Cooke. Cooke has portrayed such figures from the past as Calvin Coolidge, Daniel Webster and William Lloyd Garrison.

The Amherst College Center for Russian Culture was established through the generous gift of Thomas P. Whitney ’37. The center is made up of what is generally considered to be the world’s largest private holding of Russian books, manuscripts, newspapers and periodicals.

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Amherst College Will Open New Center for Community Engagement Sept. 8

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen


September 4, 2007
Contact: EmanuelCostache
Public Affairs Intern
413/542-2321
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

New Center for Community Engagement Will Open with Sept. 8 Panels on Education, Affordable Housing, Healthy Communities, America’s Prison System

AMHERST, Mass.—To celebrate the opening of the new Center for Community Engagement, Amherst College will host four panel discussions—on America’s prison system, public education, affordable housing and healthy communities—on Saturday, Sept. 8. Featuring national and local leaders, the discussions will take place at 11:45 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in locations across campus. The events are open to the public at no charge.

A full schedule is below, and biographical information about the panelists follows.

– 11:45 a.m., Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115), “Pathways to College: Feeding the K-16 Pipeline.” Panelists are Wendy Kohler, executive director of program development, Amherst Regional Public Schools; Mike Morris ’00, 5th/6th-grade teacher, Fort River School, Amherst; and Rhonda Cobham-Sander, professor of English and black studies at Amherst College.

– 11:45 a.m., Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall, “Inside-Out: Educating America’s Prisoners.” Panelists are Phil Scraton, professor of criminology and social justice at the Institute of Criminology and Social Justice, Queen’s University, Belfast; and Kristin Bumiller, professor of political science and women’s and gender studies at Amherst College.

– 2:30 p.m., Cole Assembly Room, Converse Hall, “Affordable Housing: Transforming People, Buildings and Communities.” Panelists are Rosanne Haggerty ’82, founder and president, Common Ground; and MJ Adams, executive director, Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity. Scott Laidlaw, director of community outreach at Amherst College, will moderate the panel.

– 2:30 p.m., Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115), “Planning for Healthy Communities.” Panelists are Tom Wolff, founder, Healthy Communities Massachusetts; Betty Medina Lichtenstein, executive director, Enlace de Familias; and Carleen Basler, assistant professor of American studies and sociology at Amherst College.

Kristin Bumiller teaches an Amherst College class that enrolls an equal number of Amherst College students and residents of the Hampshire County House of Corrections. She has been a member of the Amherst College faculty since 1989.

In addition to his ongoing research and teaching at Queen’s University, Belfast, Phil Scraton is the author of nearly a dozen books on criminal investigations, disaster analysis and the criminalization and marginalization of youth. His new book, Power, Conflict and Criminalisation, will be published by Routledge in 2007.

Wendy Kohler manages all grants development for Amherst Public Schools and supervises district-wide programs. She also supervises the public schools’ cooperation with Amherst’s town agencies, the colleges and the university.

Mike Morris ’00 is director of the Pipeline Project, a joint academic enrichment program between Amherst College and Amherst Public Schools. Last year, the Pipeline Project brought 60 students from modest backgrounds to Amherst College twice a week for tutoring and exposure to art, music and culture. The project also encourages parent participation and includes a summer program.

In addition to serving on the Amherst College faculty, Rhonda Cobham-Sander is the special assistant to the president for diversity at Amherst College. She regularly teaches courses in African-American and Caribbean fiction and poetry.

A life trustee of Amherst College, Rosanne Haggerty ’82 established Common Ground in New York City to solve homelessness by moving people out of shelters and into homes while providing support for employment and health care. Her work with Common Ground earned her a prestigious MacArthur “genius grant.” Common Ground now has expanded to include programs in New York’s Hudson Valley and Connecticut.

Under the direction of MJ Adams the Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity is in the second year of a four-year partnership with Amherst College. The college has donated three acres of land where four homes will be built, one each year. Students, faculty and staff have and will continue to provide volunteer labor for the project; the first home will be finished later this calendar year, and a wall-raising will be held at the second home on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Tom Wolff has more than 30 years’ experience as a consultant on coalition building and community development across North America. He founded Healthy Communities Massachusetts in 1994 as a statewide network aimed at supporting community development efforts across the commonwealth.

Betty Medina Lichtenstein is executive director of Enlace de Familias, a community organization in Holyoke whose mission is to support families in ways that reflect the diversity of individual families. She is also founder of the Holyoke Community Charter School.

A member of the Amherst College faculty since 2003, Carleen Basler teaches and conducts research on topics related to race and ethnicity, Latin identity, social stratification, immigration and social movements. Most of her published works center on Mexican and Mexican-American ethnic and political identity.

Amherst College’s Center for Community Engagement was established to encourage the integration of ideals and action by involving hundreds of Amherst College students in community service through linked curricular and co-curricular programs. The center was established with a seven-year investment by the Argosy Foundation, led by John Abele ’59.

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“24 at 24”—Amherst College Students, Faculty and Staff Will Hold 24-Hour Build Party Sept. 7-8 at Habitat for Humanity Homes

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

September 6, 2007
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.—Amherst College students, faculty and staff will come together for 24 hours—for a full day and night—of work at Amherst College’s first two Habitat for Humanity homes.

The 24-hour build party will begin at 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 7, and conclude at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, with the raising of a wall at Amherst College’s second Habitat home.

Dubbed “24 at 24,” the event will be held at 24 Stanley Street in Amherst, the site of Amherst College’s Habitat for Humanity homes.

In 2005, Amherst became the first college in the country to donate land, as well as labor, to Habitat for Humanity. Over the next several years, four Habitat for Humanity homes will be built on the land. Amherst College students, faculty and staff will take the lead in the project, working with other volunteers and the Pioneer Valley chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

The 24-hour build party is part of two days of events celebrating the opening of Amherst College’s new Center for Community Engagement. Amherst College’s Center for Community Engagement was established to encourage the integration of ideals and action by involving hundreds of Amherst College students in community service through linked curricular and co-curricular programs. The center was established with a seven-year investment by the Argosy Foundation, led by John Abele ’59.

For a full schedule of weekend events, go to www.amherst.edu/openingcce.

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Emily Dickinson Museum Debuts Exhibition as Part of Bookmarks Sept. 15

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen
September 4, 2007
Contact: Donna M. Abelli
Development and Marketing Manager
The Emily Dickinson Museum
413/542-5084
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

Emily Dickinson Museum Debuts Exhibition as Part of Bookmarks, a Region–Wide Celebration of the Book; Lecture by Karen A. Dandurand Sept. 15

AMHERST, Mass.— The Emily Dickinson Museum presents “My Verse is alive,” a new exhibit exploring the intriguing posthumous publication of Dickinson’s poetry, from Saturday, Sept. 15, through Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Dickinson Homestead. The exhibit is open to all visitors free of charge during the museum’s regular hours.

To mark the opening of the exhibition, Karen A. Dandurand, associate professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, will present a free talk, “Re-envisioning Dickinson’s 19th-Century Audience,” on Saturday, Sept. 15, at 11 a.m. at the Dickinson Homestead. Dandurand was the first to identify several Dickinson poems published anonymously in newspapers during her lifetime.

The exhibit takes its title from Emily Dickinson’s 1862 query to author and activist Thomas Wentworth Higginson: “Are you too deeply occupied to say if my Verse is alive?” With documents and family artifacts, the exhibit traces the creation of Emily Dickinson’s literary reputation through the competing efforts and loyalties of family members and intimates in the first 50 years after the poet’s death. “My Verse is alive” explores the tangled private and public motives of several figures closely associated with Emily Dickinson as they struggled for control of her poetic legacy. The roles of her siblings Lavinia and Austin, sister-in-law Susan and niece Martha will be examined, as well as that of Lavinia’s friend and Austin’s mistress Mabel Loomis Todd, a central figure in achieving initial publication of Dickinson’s poetry.

“My Verse is alive” has been designed by Michael A. Hanke, of Design Division, Inc., Amherst, Mass., which produces exhibitions for museums, visitor centers and galleries in both private and public institutions. Design Division’s previous work includes exhibition development for the Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Ledyard, Conn. and for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, N.Y.

Curated by Cindy Dickinson, director of interpretation and programming at the Emily Dickinson Museum, the exhibition is part of “BookMarks: A Celebration of the Art of the Book,” a region-wide festival from September 2007 to January 2008 that will bring to life the Pioneer Valley’s great literary traditions through film, family events, lectures and readings. This initiative is sponsored by the Emily Dickinson Museum and Museums10, a partnership of 10 museums and friends (including Amherst College’s Frost Library, the Mead Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History) within the Pioneer Valley. More information about “BookMarks” is available on the Museums10 Website, www.museums10.org.

“My Verse is alive” has been made possible through the generous support of the Amherst College Friends of the Library and the May H. Morris and Albert M. Morris 1913 Fund.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is located at 280 Main St. in Amherst, Mass., and the official museum Website is at www.emilydickinsonmusuem.org. Hours for September through October are Wednesday through Sunday, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; for November through December 8, hours are Wednesday and Saturday, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The museum will hold extended hours to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and will be closed the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

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“Poetry 101: How to Read an Emily Dickinson Poem” Sunday, Sept. 23

Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

September 4, 2007
Contact: Donna M. Abelli
Development and Marketing Manager
The Emily Dickinson Museum
413/542-5084
Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs
413/542-2321

AMHERST, Mass.Join writer and scholar Joanne Dobson for a discussion of the joys—and some of the problems—of reading Dickinson’s brilliant poems. “This is my letter to the World”: How to Read an Emily Dickinson Poem will take place free of charge at the Amherst Women’s Club, 35 Triangle St., Amherst, Mass., at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23.

During the afternoon, participants will read a few key poems in light of the nature of manuscript poetry, the tradition of social circulation of private texts and publishing practices of Emily Dickinson’s day. This program is perfect for those new to Dickinson, as well as those with experience wrestling with her verse.

Dobson is the author of Dickinson and the Strategies of Reticence: The Woman Writer in Nineteenth-Century America. She is co-founder and for 10 years was editor of Legacy—A Journal of American Women Writers. Until recently, she taught creative writing and literature at Fordham University. She now writes full time and is the author of the Professor Karen Pelletier academic mystery series.

The Emily Dickinson Museum, made up of 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 museum is overseen by a separate board of governors charged with raising its operating and capital funds. 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.

This program is part of “BookMarks: A Celebration of the Art of the Book,” a region-wide festival from September 2007 to January 2008 that will bring to life the Pioneer Valley’s great literary traditions through film, family events, lectures and readings. This initiative is sponsored by the Emily Dickinson Museum and Museums10, a partnership of 10 museums and friends (including Amherst College’s Frost Library, the Mead Art Museum and the Museum of Natural History) within the Pioneer Valley. More information about “BookMarks” is available on the Museums10 Website, www.museums10.org.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is located at 280 Main St. in Amherst, Mass., and the official museum Website is at www.emilydickinsonmusuem.org. Hours for September through October are Wednesday through Sunday, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; for November through December 8, hours are Wednesday and Saturday, 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The museum will hold extended hours to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and will be closed the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

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Contact

Peter Rooney
Director of Public Affairs
(413) 542-2321
prooney@amherst.edu