Media Advisory: Marathon reading of Emily Dickinson’s poems will feature celebrity readers, poems set to music, a bit of black cake

Great visuals, audio and community engagement

Release Date: April 9, 2013 This content is archived.

“Dickinson helps to remind us as a community of the many profound things that matter in our lives ”
Cristanne C. Miller, PhD, SUNY Distignuished Professor and chair
UB Department of English

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- National Poetry Month will be celebrated on April 13 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. with Buffalo’s second marathon reading of all 1,789 of Emily Dickinson’s poems.

The public are invited to come and read a poem or just relax and listen.

The event is free.

WHO: The event will begin with celebrity readers among them UB President Satish Tripathi, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, Tony Award-winning actor Stephen McKinley Henderson of the UB Department of Theatre and Dance and Reverend Thomas Yorty, Westminster Presbyterian Church.

WHAT: Buffalo’s second marathon reading of Emily Dickinson’s poems

WHEN: Saturday, April 13, all day and into the night, 14 hours of readings

  • 8 a.m.:  Celebrity readers kick off the marathon
  • 1 p.m.:  The marathon will break for the 13-member vocal ensemble “Bolts of Melody” (their name derives from a Dickinson poem) who will perform five songs set to Dickinson’s poems, two of which were set to music by the late composer Leo Smit, a member of the UB music faculty from 1962 to 1984.
  • As long as it lasts: “Black cake,” a rich, molasses-based 19th-century fruit confection often served by Dickinson, an accomplished baker.

WHERE: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, N.Y.

WHY: “Dickinson helps to remind us as a community of the many profound things that matter in our lives,” Cristanne C. Miller, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chair of the UB English department says, “through both the art and music of the poems’ language, and through the themes that recur, including joy, pain, death, grief, the variety and vitality of nature, and the particular wonders of each season.”

For someone like George DeTitta, professor of structural biology at UB who is helping Miller organize this marathon reading, reading Dickinson is an earnest and sober pursuit that reflects the themes Miller describes.

HOW: The poems will be read in the order in which they are published in “The Poems of Emily Dickinson,” edited by Ralph W. Franklin. Talking Leaves bookstore will be lending copies of the book to readers.

The reading is presented by the University at Buffalo Department of English, Just Buffalo Literary Center and community volunteers. It is coordinated by Miller, a noted Dickinson scholar.

ON SITE CONTACT: Cristanne Miller, 716-880-5017 (cell).

Additional information:

“UB gears up for 14-hour-long marathon reading of Emily Dickinson’s poems during National Poetry Month”

Media Contact Information

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