August 27, 2009
Contact: Donna Abelli
Development and Marketing Manager

AMHERST, Mass—On Saturday, Sept. 26, Emily Dickinson lovers of all ages are invited to join the Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon, a daylong marathon reading of all 1,789 poems by Emily Dickinson. The event, which is sponsored annually by the Emily Dickinson Museum, will take place from 7 a.m. to approximately 10 p.m. at the Dickinson Homestead and will involve several other activities. All are welcome to read or to listen, participate in the free event or drop by to appreciate just a single poem. Parking is available on Main Street and on surrounding streets.
Whether you’re a longtime Emily Dickinson fan or someone hoping to experience her work for the first time, the marathon is the perfect chance to engage with Dickinson’s poetry in the place where she composed it. Attracting poets, writers, journalists, children, college students, families, teachers, poetry lovers and even people who thought they didn’t like poetry, the event is an excellent opportunity to become freshly connected to Dickinson’s poetry. (Anyone interested in reading during the marathon is especially encouraged to attend.) As Greg Mattingly, a devoted participant of past marathons, says, “Don’t just read Emily Dickinson, join in the Marathon and experience her!”

In addition to the poetry readings, the marathon will feature the following activities:

  • 11 a.m.—Hedge and fence tour and ribbon-cutting ceremony. In mid-February, the museum began to restore the overgrown hemlock hedge and historic fences, gates and gateposts spanning the front of the Dickinson property. The project has returned a significant Amherst landscape feature to its original 19th-century appearance, and Jane Wald, director of the museum, will lead a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony and special tour of project where she will discuss highlights and provide information about the project.
  • 1 to 4 p.m.—The Many Faces of Emily. This activity will enable participants to have their faces videographed in a cutout of the renowned Emily Dickinson daguerreotype portrait by James MacAllister, the videographer for the film A Poet in Her Bedroom. MacAllister, who has specialized in making medical and science programs for television, is currently a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts.
  • 2 p.m.—Hedge and fence tour. Last chance to take a tour with Wald as she shares the significance and meaning of the restoration project. “One of the museum's goals is to bring back the Dickinson homes and grounds to their appearance during the period the poet lived and wrote here,” she explained. “The natural world and this landscape were vitally important to the Dickinson family, and we want our patrons to be able to see and imagine how it looked then.”

For information on how you can participate as a reader in the marathon, please visit or e-mail

The Emily Dickinson Museum, comprising The Homestead and The Evergreens, 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 Homestead was the birthplace and residence of the poet (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 located at 280 Main St. in Amherst, Mass. The official museum Web site is Hours are Wednesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. June through August, and 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. March thorough May and September through December. The museum is closed on major holidays.