Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

March 18, 2008
Contact: Donna M. Abelli
Development and Marketing Manager
The Emily Dickinson Museum


AMHERST, Mass.—The Emily Dickinson Museum: The Homestead and The Evergreens presents acclaimed poet Galway Kinnell on Sunday, April 6, at 4 p.m. in Cole Assembly of Amherst College’s Converse Hall. The event is free and open to the public. Kinnell will read a selection of his favorite poems, including those by Emily Dickinson as well as some of his own work. A reception and book-signing will follow the program, which is part of “A little Madness in the Spring,” the museum’s local annual celebration of National Poetry Month in April.

Kinnell counts among his earliest influences the poetry of Emily Dickinson. After a tour in the U.S. Navy, Kinnell joined CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) as a field worker and spent much of the 1960s involved in the Civil Rights Movement. His many experiences with social activism during this time, including an arrest while participating in workplace integration in Louisiana, found their way into his collection Body Rags (1968) and especially The Book of Nightmares (1971), a book-length poem concerned with the Vietnam War. Additional works include Selected Poems (1980), for which he received both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; A New Selected Poems (2000), a finalist for the National Book Award; and Strong Is Your Hold (2006). 

Kinnell’s honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Rockefeller Grant, the 1974 Shelley Prize of the Poetry Society of America and the 1975 Medal of Merit from National Institute of Arts and Letters. He has served as poet-in-residence at numerous colleges and universities and divides his time between Vermont and New York City, where he was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University.

In addition to Kinnell’s reading, the Emily Dickinson Museum presents several other programs to extend the celebration of National Poetry Month through the end of April. Some include a reading and book-signing by author Christopher Benfey April 21, a discussion with Anne Flick of the Civil War in Dickinson’s poetry April 25 and a Kinsmen of the Shelf book group discussion of the Selected Poems of Robert Browning (a favorite of Dickinson’s) with guest discussion leader Cornelia Pearsall, associate professor of English at Smith College, April 27. More information about these and other programs is available at the museum’s Web site,

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 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), while the Evergreens was the 1856 home of the poet’s brother and sister-in-law, Austin and Susan Dickinson.

The Emily Dickinson Museum is located at 280 Main Street in Amherst, Mass. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., March through December, with extended hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., June through August.