May 3, 2004
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-The Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst will sponsor the annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk on Saturday, May 15, at 1 p.m. The walk honors the memory of the poet Emily Dickinson, who died on May 15, 1886. The event is free and open to the public. This year's walk will celebrate Dickinson's fondness for the writings of William Shakespeare: "he has had his Future who has found Shakespeare."

The day's festivities begin at 11 a.m. with a lecture at the museum at 280 Main St. by Páraic Finnerty of the University of Kent. Finnerty's talk, titled " 'Stratford on Avon - accept us all': Emily Dickinson's Bardolatry," is co-sponsored by the Museum and the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies. Finnerty, who received his Ph.D. from the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he teaches English drama and American literature, was awarded The Emily Dickinson International Society's Scholar in Amherst Award in 2002 and is currently a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College. He has published articles on Dickinson and Shakespeare in The Emily Dickinson Journal and is revising a manuscript called "Emily Dickinson's Shakespeare" for future publication. The lecture is free, but space is limited, so please call 413/542-8429 to register.

The Poetry Walk will begin at 1 p.m. in the Homestead garden at the Museum, and will proceed through Amherst, stopping at various sites significant in Dickinson's life. (A full schedule is attached.) Members of the Amherst community, including representatives from the Amherst Historical Commission and Select Board, will read a selection of Dickinson's poems at each location. The Walk will also include quotations from Dickinson's letters that have references to Shakespeare and his plays.

At 2:30 p.m. the procession will arrive at West Cemetery on Triangle Street to gather at the Dickinson grave, where all are welcome to read their favorite poems and to join in a lighthearted toast to the poet's memory.

Those who choose to attend both the lecture and the Walk are invited to bring a picnic lunch to eat on the Museum grounds.
The Emily Dickinson Museum will host an Open House after the Walk from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The houses will be open for self-guided tours during that time, and guides will be on hand to answer questions. Admission is free. The Emily Dickinson Museum is owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. For more information, call the Museum at 413/542-8161 or visit

Programs and maps of the one-mile route of the Poetry Walk will be available at the Homestead. Participants are welcome to join the Walk at any point along the route. Those who wish to participate only in the cemetery reading should meet at the Dickinson grave in West Cemetery on Triangle St. at 2:30 p.m.

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 1 until 5 p.m.

Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk
Schedule of Readings

1 p.m. Dickinson Homestead garden, 280 Main Street
1:20 p.m. Amherst Train Station, Railroad Street
1:40 p.m. Front steps of The Evergreens, 214 Main Street
2 p.m. Front lawn of the Jones Library, 43 Amity Street
2:20 p.m. Parking lot behind Zanna, 187 North Pleasant Street
(next to Ren's Mobil Service, site of Dickinson home)
2:30 p.m. Dickinson grave site, West Cemetery, Triangle Street