The 187th anniversary of the birth of Emily Dickinson is coming up and Write On, Door County is offering special ways to celebrate the legendary poet. On Dec. 9, a workshop offered by visiting writers Jane Ewens and Dion Kempthorn will explore the unique wordplay of Dickinson’s poems and encourage participants to do the same with their own poetry. On Dec. 10, Dickinson’s actual birthday is celebrated with a special tea served at Write On. Both programs are presented free though goodwill donations are requested.
Emily Dickinson was born Dec. 10, 1830, in Amherst, Mass. Throughout her adulthood, she maintained many correspondences and read widely and especially admired the poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and John Keats. She frequently enclosed poems in letters to friends, but never published work during her lifetime. After her death in 1886, her family discovered 40 hand-bound volumes containing nearly 1,800 poems. The first volume of her work was published in 1890.
“Emily Dickinson is one of the country’s most beloved poets,” said Write On Executive Director Jerod Santek. “She and Walt Whitman are considered by many to be the founders of a uniquely American poetic voice. We wanted to celebrate her life and work and, perhaps, introduce her work to some new audiences.”
Ewens, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology, and Kempthorn, a poet and English professor, will present “The Psychology and Poetry of Play,” on Dec. 9, 1 – 4 pm at Write On, Door County. Discussion of the exceptional word play in Dickinson’s poems will be followed by an exploration of imaginative language and how it benefits daily lives. The workshop is free but registration is required. Participants can register at writeondoorcounty.org.
A birthday tea is planned for Dec. 10, 2 pm, at Write On. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Guests are asked to bring a favorite poem by Dickinson to read aloud. Weather permitting, a half-mile walk of the property will follow. To reserve a space for tea, email [email protected] or call 920.868.1457.