Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute: Tonight I Am In Love: Dorianne Laux (2020)

This article is about a single event. For other uses, see the Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute (disambiguation).

The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series, co-sponsored with the Emily Dickinson Museum, presented the Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute reading on December 10, 2020 at 7:30pm as a live virtual reading. Poet Dorianne Laux traveled virtually to The Homestead in Amherst, the home of Emily Dickinson, to celebrate Dickinson’s birthday. After a virtual tour of Emily’s bedroom at The Homestead, Laux read from Dickinson’s poetry as well as her own.

This reading was accompanied by a special virtual workshop with Laux on Wednesday, December 9 from 6:30-7:30pm EST. The workshop, titled Perception of an Object Costs, considered the object using Emily's ideas and style in concert with model poems by contemporary women poets. The title came from Dickinson’s own poem. Spaces were available separately for Black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) participants and for those who could only participate on a sliding scale.

Dorianne Laux

Dorianne Laux.

With language that is at times sensually earthy then heavenly lyrical, Dorianne Laux’s poems share their wisdom and beauty like a slowly opening rose. She is the author of five collections of poetry, including Only as the Day is Long, a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize. She teaches poetry at North Carolina State University and is a founding faculty member of Pacific University’s Low Residency MFA Program. Laux is a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and a recipient of the Paterson Prize.

Reviews and Excerpts

"Death Comes to Me Again, a Girl"

Death comes to me again, a girl in a cotton slip.

Barefoot, giggling. It’s not so terrible, she tells me,

not like you think: all darkness and silence.`

There are wind chimes and the scent of lemons.

Some days it rains. But more often the air

is dry and sweet. We sit beneath the staircase

built from hair and bone and listen

to the voices of the living.

I like it, she says, shaking the dust from her hair.

Especially when they fight, and when they sing.

From Only as the Day is Long: New and Selected Poems. Reprinted with permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. www.boaeditions.org.