Submitted by Holly R. Saltrelli

April 24, 2008
Contact: Donna M. Abelli
Development and Marketing Manager
Emily Dickinson Museum

AMHERST, Mass.—Poet Susan Kinsolving and actor Jack Gilpin will bring the words of poets Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman to life Thursday, May 8, in a presentation titled “The Mother and Father of American Poetry” at 7:30 p.m. at the Amherst Woman’s Club on Triangle Street in Amherst. The program—which will explore why both poets rightly deserve their roles in the literary canon and is sponsored by Amherst College’s Emily Dickinson Museum—is $15 for adults and $5 for youth/students in advance; it is $18 adults, $8 youth/students at the door. Call 413/542-2034 to make reservations.

In their lively presentation, Kinsolving and Gilpin compare and contrast Dickinson and Whitman through selected themes. Though their approaches differed, Dickinson and Whitman often dealt with similar themes, such as nature and death. Both poets independently broke with the tradition of English poetry to create innovative and provocative work. They originated American poetry, changed the course of American literature and still influence it today.

Kinsolving’s recent book of poems, The White Eyelash, won Poetry Magazine’s Friends of Literature Award and received praise from The Los Angeles Times, Poetry and Publisher’s Weekly. She teaches poetry in the Bennington Writing Seminars. This year she is a poetry fellow at the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy and Hawthornden Castle, Scotland. As a librettist, her works have been performed internationally.      

Gilpin has performed leading roles on and off-Broadway and in major regional theaters, including the Guthrie, Long Wharf and Seattle Repertory theaters, for the Hartford and Barrington stage companies and at the renowned Kennedy Center. His many television credits include Law & Order, The Cosby Show and two years as the character Roger on Kate & Allie. He has appeared in more than 30 feature films, including Funny Farm, Quiz Show, Something Wild and Reversal of Fortune.
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.