Fourteen hours of Dickinson
Kate Dunning, a Ph.D. candidate at Case Western University, was one of the attendees at the 14-hour marathon Emily Dickinson reading. Yan Gong, The Spectrum
In a bright wood-bound chapel room on a rainy Saturday night, a poetic atmosphere was created in honor of poet Emily Dickinson almost 130 years after her death.
Literary scholars, readers and students gathered at the Westminster Presbyterian Church on Delaware Avenue for a 14-hour Emily Dickinson marathon reading.
This was the second-annual reading of Dickinson's poems in Buffalo. The selected readings from R.W. Franklin's The Poems of Emily Dickinson and food and refreshments were served throughout the day for the attendees' enjoyment.
Kate Dunning, a Ph.D. candidate at Case Western University, did a project on Emily Dickinson fan fiction.
"The stories are simple but sweet, and they tend to work in Dickinson's poems in a really creative way," Dunning said.
When it was Dunning's turn to read a poem, she recited the poem featured on her homemade tie-dye box, fitted with rotating blocks of text and select words. The rotating text is an allusion to Dickinson's habit of using variants in her writing, which result in the use of different, effective words instead of repeating one.
"The idea is that it mimics the creative act of writing poetry," Dunning said. "It's [there] to remind you that language isn't static. It's a dynamic process."
Across the room, Jonathon Welch, the owner of Talking Leaves Books, had a collection of biographies, academic texts and selected works of Emily Dickinson for sale.
Welch believes that although Dickinson was against being in the public eye, readers are still lucky enough to learn about her personal and written legacy during events such as the 14-hour marathon.
"We who pay attention to the world of literature think all that information is extremely useful and wonderful and compelling and insightful, but is it necessary?" Welch said. "Poetry and fiction both, I think, are ultimately private - private on the part of the writer and private on the part of the reader and listener."
Cristanne Miller, a literature professor and chair of the Department of English at UB, organized the marathon reading and was present for the full 14-hour day. She is a scholar of modernist American poetry, but Dickinson is one of the main poets on which she focuses her work.
"Dickinson is a particularly good poet to do this kind of thing for," Miller said. "These marathons are done with some frequency with Dickinson's poems across the country, especially in Amherst, Mass., where she grew up."
Miller was elated by the success of the reading and the Buffalo literary scene's collective appreciation of the poet's works.
"The poems are very short, so it's easy for each person to read a whole poem, whereas if you were doing a marathon reading of Walt Whitman, his poems are extremely long," Miller said. "You would have to figure out some other way to divide how each person would read."
When asked how she thought Dickinson would react to the close and personal gathering of readers, students and scholars, Miller explained it was clear Dickinson didn't want attention from publishing during her lifetime.
"I think that she did not want herself to be involved in the marketing of her poems, but it seems to me by the way that she saved her poems she very clearly wanted them to be circulated after her death," Miller said.
Among a display of biographies and books of the poet's works, a table was set up with a collection of children's books, articles and a homemade creation that replicated the creative process of one of Emily's untitled poems.
As the marathon came to a conclusion, there was a feeling of camaraderie and accomplishment amongst all who were in attendance. Laughter and jovial sincerity filled the room over the music from the corner as glasses of wine were filled and emptied.
Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly
From Around the Web
More ubspectrum News Articles
Recent ubspectrum News Articles
Discuss This Article
MOST POPULAR UBSPECTRUM NEWS
GET TOP STORIES DELIVERED WEEKLY
FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER
LATEST UBSPECTRUM NEWS
- À la Mode: Style Guide
- Unprecedented number of students prompt increased tailgate patrol
- UB looks to overhaul general education requirements
- StandWithUs brings Charlotte Korchak to UB to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian...
- UB holds Suicide Prevention Week, offers QPR suicide prevention training
- Student Style Spotlight 9/18
- Around Town: UB Family Weekend, Buffalo Maritime Festival and Buffalo...
FROM AROUND THE WEB
- Wondering if it's Time to Buy a New Car? Just Check Your...
- Smartphone to Become Wallet -- Are Customers, Businesses...
- Grandparents, Keep Your Meds Up and Away From Young Children
- As Insurers End Coverage for Compounded Drugs, Patients...
- 4 Tips to Start Your Day a Little Earlier
- Join the Force to Fight Lung Cancer in Women
- If You Want to Help Avoid Back Problems, Stop Slouching
- Common-Sense Strategies From a Natural Marketing Guru
- 10 Steps to Help Older Adults Prevent Slips, Trips and Falls
- Stay Cool for Next to Nothing: Power Down the AC on...
COLLEGE PRESS RELEASES
- Peace Corps Director Calls on College Students to Make a Difference After Graduation Through International Service
- USA NETWORK AND VERIZON LAUNCH THE “CHARACTERS UNITE COLLEGE TOUR” COMPETITION FOR STUDENTS TO BRING A USA NETWORK CELEBRITY AND A WORTHY CAUSE TO THEIR CAMPUS
- WHEN GEORGIA SMILED: THE ROBIN MCGRAW REVELATION FOUNDATION TEAMS WITH PIVOT AND STUDENTS OF THE WORLD TO LAUNCH THE #iASPIRE GRANT CONTEST
- Latino Groups Launch National Campaign to Deliver Record Latino Turnout for 2014 Midterm Elections
- The Power of Peer Support: Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" Hits Campuses