April 20, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst will sponsor the annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk on Saturday, May 14, at 1 p.m. The walk honors the memory of poet Emily Dickinson, who died on May 15, 1886. The event is free and open to the public. At 4 p.m., the Museum and Amherst 's First Congregational Church are co-sponsoring a special concert of Emily Dickinson 's poems set to music. The concert is the season finale of the church's Music on Main concert series.

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 members of First Congregational Church, the Amherst Historical Commission and Five College students from Dickinson classes will read a selection of Dickinson's poems at each location. At 2:30 p.m. the procession will arrive at the 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.

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 available to answer questions. Admission is free.

The 4 p.m. concert, entitled “This is my letter to the World,” features soprano Elizabeth Sanders Munsell, accompanied by Carrie-Ann Matheson. Ms. Munsell will sing a selection of Dickinson song settings by composers Robert Baksa, Lori Laitman, Willis Bridegam, Librarian Emeritus at Amherst College, and Aaron Copland. Featured poems include “Two butterflies went out at noon,” “I'm Nobody,” “The Sky is Low” and “Going to Heaven!” Adding to the performance, Baksa and Bridegam will be present to read from Dickinson's work.

Linda Smith, Music on Main series coordinator, said, “This is a special opportunity to collaborate with the Museum and highlight some of Emily Dickinson's poetry. With the church across the street from the Museum and part of the Emily Dickinson Historic District, it seems particularly fitting to feature her work in concert here.”

The concert will take place in the sanctuary of the First Congregational Church, located at 165 Main Street, across from the Emily Dickinson Museum. Tickets for the concert can be purchased for $10, or $5 for children and students. The sanctuary is accessible. An informal reception to greet the performers will follow.

Programs and maps of the one-mile route of the Poetry Walk will be available at the Museum. 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 Street 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 and is located at 280 Main Street in Amherst. The Dickinson Homestead was the birthplace and residence of Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), and The Evergreens was the 1856 home of the poet's brother and sister-in-law, Austin and Susan Dickinson. Both properties are owned by the Trustees of Amherst College. For more information, please call the Museum at 413/542-8161 or visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org. Wheelchair accessible parking is available at the Homestead; all other vehicles are asked to park on the street or in an Amherst College lot on Spring Street. Call for more information about accessibility.

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 's home)

2:30 p.m. Dickinson's grave site, West Cemetery, Triangle Street