Sponsored by Continuing Studies


Wednesday, January 30, 2008
7:00 pm –
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Three Part Series: January 30th - Dinkelspiel Auditorium February 13th - Campbell Recital Hall, Braun Music Center March 12th - Roble Studio Theater

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Event Details:

Emily Dickinson is one of the most original poets America has ever produced, but also one of the least understood. Deceptively simple at times, mysterious at others, she is a complex writer who can deliver a verse with an impact on the reader that is nothing short of stunning. Unknown during her life, deemed too "irregular" for publication, her first posthumous collection immediately sold out through six printings. There is an unmistakable intimacy and power to the poet's voice—her verses, like Shakespeare's, first startle us with their remarkable immediacy, then astound with their beauty and breadth. This Winter quarter, Continuing Studies offers you three opportunities to increase your appreciation of Dickinson's work, and discover why this brilliant and reclusive writer continues to be one of the most popular poets in the English language.

Soul at the White Heat

This evening will serve as a celebration for those who know and love Dickinson, and an introduction for those who do not yet have the pleasure of knowing her. A reading of her poems and correspondence will let us eavesdrop on the remarkable life long conversations that were her great work—with Life that she so loved, Death that she so wondered at, and God, with whom she wrestled ceaselessly.

The evening will feature dramatic readings of Dickinson's poems and letters performed by actors from major Bay Area stages, including the critically acclaimed San Francisco theater company, Word for Word. The program also will incorporate 19th-century music performed on period instruments, and will conclude with a lively conversation among Dickinson scholars who will help us understand how and why the white heat of Emily Dickinson's poems still illuminates our lives.

Conceived and Directed by Amy Freed in consultation with Hilton Obenzinger. Musicial direction by David Giovacchini.

Wednesday, January 30

7:00 pm

Dinkelspiel Auditorium

FREE; no registration required

Open to the public

The Music Emily Heard

This evening presents the music of Emily Dickinson's life—parlor piano pieces drawn from her own Songbook; hymns she sang in meeting; songs drawn from the 1851 performance by Jenny Lind—the Swedish Nightingale—which Dickinson attended; the music of the American Civil War; as well as other popular songs of the time mentioned in her letters. All will be performed on period instruments such as the harmonium, parlor guitar, and harp, and will use historical sheet music. This program offers the unique opportunity to hear the actual music Emily heard in the way she might have heard it. Researched, arranged, and performed by David Giovacchini and ensemble.

Wednesday, February 13

7:30 pm

Campbell Recital Hall, Braun Music Center

FREE; no registration required

Open to the public

"The Ghoul of Amherst"

Playwright Amy Freed (The Beard of Avon, Restoration Comedy) has twice written plays that feature Emily Dickinson as a character. This evening's program will present one of those short works in a rich, lively atmosphere.

“The Ghoul of Amherst” is a short, comic vignette set during Emily's death bed visit to a dying school chum. It addresses with admiration and humor Miss Dickinson's more grisly preoccupations with the mysteries of the grave. Word for Word theater company actress JoAnne Winter, who originally played Emily, will reprise her role in a special performance. Amy Freed will introduce the play and discuss the life and work of Emily Dickinson afterward.

Admission Info

Free and open to public

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