August 4, 2004
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum has formed a reading group, “Kinsmen of the Shelf,” which will meet to discuss books, poems and essays that were read by Emily Dickinson and her family. Taking its name from Dickinson's poem “Unto my books – so good to turn,” the group will meet four times in the coming academic year to read works by Helen Hunt Jackson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Gaskell, William Cullen Bryant and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Each session will begin at 2 p.m. at the Museum with a talk about the work, the author and the context in which the Dickinsons read the work. Discussion and refreshments will follow. On Sunday, Sept. 19, Wendy Kohler, executive director of secondary curriculum for the Amherst (Mass.) School System, will lead a discussion of Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona . On Sunday, Nov. 14, Cristanne Miller, professor of English at Pomona College, will lead a discussion of selected essays and poems by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

On a date to be announced in February, Amy Martin, professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, will lead a discussion of Elizabeth Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Bronte. In May, Virginia Jackson of New York University will lead a discussion of the poetry of William Cullen Bryant and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Membership in the group is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Books may be purchased through the Emily Dickinson Museum, either at the shop during business hours or ordered over the phone. For more information and to register, contact Cindy Dickinson, the director of interpretation and programming, at or call 413/542-8429.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is located at 280 Main Street in Amherst, Mass., and is owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. The Museum's Website is at