AMHERST – In a joint venture with the Emily Dickinson Museum, the Amherst Business Improvement District is sponsoring an eight-day poetry festival beginning with the annual Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon and ending with a poetry slam.
The festival begins Friday at 3 p.m. for the marathon and continues all day Saturday at the museum.
All 1,789 of Dickinson’s poems will be read during the marathon at the Homestead at 280 Main St., and people can show up and read.
On Sept. 25, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Martín Espada, who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, will read at 5 p.m. prior to a screening of “Louder Than A Bomb,” a film on an eponymous yearly Chicago high school slam poetry event featuring Hampshire College alum Adam Gottlieb.
On Sept. 26, a program called “Beowulf Walks Into A Bar” will be held at High Horse, 24 N. Pleasant St., featuring contributors from The Common, a literary journal based at Amherst College. That will be followed by a reading, discussion and performance of Beowulf and other poems by UMass-Amherst German and Scandinavian Studies Professor Steven Harris.
Sarah la Cour, interim operations director for the BID, said they had been talking about having a poetry festival and also the idea of coordinating with others from the downtown to put on a joint event. With the annual Dickinson marathon, they decided to join that and others got involved. “It morphed,” she said.
Here is the rest of the schedule:
Sept. 22, Jubilat/Jones Poetry Series at 3 at the Jones Library featuring “A Celebration of Ugly Duckling Presse” with authors Corina Copp and Natalie Lyalin.
Sept. 24, “Local Words,” 7 p.m. a poetry reading featuring local poets Karina Borowisz, John Hennessey, Michael Miller and Lewis Mainzer at the Jones Library.
Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. a screening of a poetry film by Guy Pettit of Flying Object, showing all day at Laughing Dog Bicycles, 63 S. Pleasant St.
Sept. 27, “The End of it All” closes out the series at the Pacific Lodge, 99 Main St. at 7 p.m. with Northampton native and six-time National Poetry Slam performer Christian Drake, along with Craig Nelson (host of the weekly Hinge open mic in Northampton), Barry Maupin, Douglas Kolb and Joelle Renstrom.
Also that night, Food for Thought will be hosting an Alumni Reading for the University of Maine Stonecoast Writers MFA program also at 7 p.m.
All events are free.