I’ve been spending a lot of time at the Emily Dickinson Museum recently, as I’m serving on the steering committee for the Amherst Poetry Festival. It’s a real treat for me to be able to help plan an event that has been so meaningful to me in the past — even when I lived in eastern Massachusetts I’d make the drive to see readings by the likes of Kaveh Akbar and Sahar Muradi and Ocean Vuong and Rafael Campo, and to experience poetry in spectacular venues around Amherst, like the Amherst College Planetarium.
This year’s lineup is no less spectacular, and it’s incredible to have been part of lining up our headliners and plotting out the logistics and reviewing the proposals for workshops, performances, and panels.
But what’s most incredible for me is that I’ll be enjoying a lively discussion with the other members of the committee and it’ll hit me that I’m sitting in Emily Dickinson’s house. That her room is right down the hall. That her kitchen is just downstairs. That her gardens are all around us.
It’s humbling, to be sure. And exhilarating.
The Amherst Poetry Festival is September 19-22 this year. Come hang out at Emily’s house.