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EDIS 2017 Annual Meeting Schedule

For a downloadable/printable PDF version of the schedule, click here.

Friday August 11

10:00 – 12:30

Participant check in, sign up for Reading/Discussion Groups
Registration can be easily accessed through this link: Though same-day registrations will be accepted, we recommend advance registration so that plenty of refreshments throughout, box lunches, and Saturday picnic suppers will be easily available.

Amherst Alumni House, entrance hall

12:30 – 1:30

Lunch on your own

1:30 – 4:30

Reading/Discussion Groups – All in the Alumni House

Marta Werner and Beth Staley, Dickinson’s Soundscapes - Dickinson will act as our medium for attending to a world of sound, where sound itself is understood as a “vital materiality” coursing through and across bodies both human and nonhuman, organic and inorganic. The work of the first hour is designed to be generative in the largest sense—inspiring and energizing new inquiries into Dickinson and sound that may amplify how we read her in studies of poetics, animals, plants, ecologies, the non- and post-human, and other areas of the humanities and sciences. In the second hour, we’ll introduce a new project—The Dickinson Sound Map.    

Barbara Mossberg, Eco Emily - Might Emily Dickinson, an avid gardener, be one of the greatest eco writers in English? Her experience with the natural world may seem confined to the view outside her bedroom window of the tree, the bird on the walk, the hills in the background, or to her garden, but each instance of "nature's news" was a fractal of the whole universe. Our discussion will ponder several poems that may be some of the most profound eco literature of her day, standing her ground in the company of Emerson, Thoreau, and John Muir. She may have called her "letters to the world . . .  simple News that Nature told—" but this news she reports was in fact far from simple. Indeed, "the Brain is wider than the Sky," and our chance to frolic with Dickinson's understanding and representation of nature, up close and personal, and of cosmic magnitude, speaks to her imagination engaging her reading and her own hands-on experience on her hands and knees. We will examine poems vibrating at the speed of her hummingbird, and consider her work as a whole to be one coherence of an eco mind.


Martha Nell Smith, Barbara Dana, Jonnie Guerra, Jane Wald, Emily Dickinson on Screen—Feature Film(s), Documentaries. Few have had a quiet response to A Quiet Passion, the newly released feature film directed by Terence Davies starring Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson. The facilitators will offer very brief responses to the film and then invite the rest of the group to express their opinions, questions, and reactions to the film. Whether one has seen the film or not would not preclude participating in the discussion—Dickinson’s readers might want to share what they anticipate the film to be or simply respond to what they are hearing from those respondents and others who have seen or reviewed the film. This group is designed to open up larger questions of biographical representations both scholarly and artistic and will also muse on reading her writings in these contexts. 


1:30 - 4:30

EDIS Critical Institute Groups, already working virtually, Meet Face-to-Face
Group A (Eliza Richards) – Converse 207
Group B (Faith Barrett) – Converse 209
Group C (Renee Bergland) – Converse 302
Group D (Michelle Kohler) – Converse 308

5:00 – 6:00

EDIS Congregation – Report from Institute Groups, Reading Groups
Amherst Alumni House

8:00 – 10:30

Jane Ira Bloom Quartet Performance
Buckley Recital Hall (ticket included with registration)

Award winning soprano saxophonist/composer Jane Ira Bloom presents “Wild Lines,” her new work for jazz quartet and spoken word, inspired by the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Bloom’s reimagining of Dickinson was ignited when she learned that the poet was a pianist and improviser, reaffirming Bloom’s intuitive connection to the jazz-like quality of Dickinson’s writing.

Saturday August 12

8:00 – 9:15

Research Circle (Eleanor Heginbotham)

Held every year for members to discuss their works-in-progress.

9:30 – 10:30

EDIS Annual Members Meeting
Amherst Alumni House

Agenda will be circulated one week before the Annual Meeting convenes.


10:45 – 12:00

Grant Rosson
“Dickinson’s Interiors: A Theory of Authorship in the Todd Correspondence”
Amherst Alumni House

Grant Rosson is a PhD candidate in English at UCLA. His dissertation, titled "Writing Country: Geography and American Literature in the Nineteenth Century," identifies geographic discourse at the heart of literary representations of the emergent United States. His work finds literary writing, especially poetry, to be a valuable tool in historical efforts to understand and communicate about human space.

12:00 – 1:30

Box lunches

2:00 – 3:30

Clare Mullaney
“‘Not to discover weak- / ness is / The Artifice of strength —’: Emily Dickinson, Constraint, and an Early History of Print Disability”
Amherst Alumni House

Clare Mullaney is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of English at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her dissertation, “Textual Conditions: Disability and the Material Text in Turn-of-the-Century America, 1858-1932," argues that acknowledging the text as a made object brings into focus how turn-of-the-century authors grapple with the social problem of disability at the level of textual form.  She is the 2016 recipient of the Irving K. Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies.

4:00 – 5:30

Landscape Tour with Richard Wilbur, “Grounds of Memory”
Tours of the Museum

5:30 – ???

Picnic on ED Museum Lawn!!!

“Dickinson’s Musical Eden: Emily and Lavinia and Music Making in the Homestead” by Red Skies Ensemble. Co-created by George Boziwick and Trudy Williams, this picnic program presents rarely performed vocal and piano pieces that Emily loved and played from her own collection of sheet music. Included are selections of waltzes, marches, and quick steps, as well as the engaging Overture to Lodoiska for piano four hands that Emily and Lavinia may have performed together. This program likely marks the first time that many of these pieces have been played directly from the digitized sheet music in Dickinson’s own music book. In addition, the program will feature some of the sentimental songs that Lavinia loved such as “Are We Almost There,” and “Charity,” both of which were enormously popular. Readings from the family correspondence will illuminate and animate both the music and the musical relationship between the two sisters.

Wild Night in Amherst!

Recommended: Laurie McCants’ Industrious Angels (time & place TBA)

Throughout the meeting, water colors by Amherst artist Victoria Dickson, inspired by our “Edenic Possibilities” theme, will be available in the Amherst Alumni House for your viewing pleasure and, if you are so inclined, for purchase (funds will be contributed in part to the Emily Dickinson Museum).

Also available throughout the meeting in the Alumni House will be ordering possibilities for contemporary books on Dickinson. Also, books are available in the Emily Dickinson Museum Shop and Amherst Books.

Even more full descriptions and updates will continue to be available on our website, and reminders about these programs and our Members’ Meeting will be sent via email. These are programs and discussions of Edenic Possibilities situated right in Amherst and are not to be missed! Again, the link for registration can be found here: