The Big Read Miami celebrates the Poetry of Emily Dickinson

From March 15 through April 15, 2012.

The Center for Literature and Theatre @ Miami Dade College (MDC), (formerly known as the Florida Center for the Literary Arts), in collaboration with the Miami-Dade Public Library System, will present The Big Read Miami by celebrating the iconic life and work of America’s most beloved poet, Emily Dickinson from March 15 to April 15, at various locations.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest and is designed to revitalize the role of literature in American culture, bring its transformative power into the lives of its citizens, and encourage communities to come together to read the same book.

Born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830, Dickinson began life as an energetic, outgoing young woman who excelled in her studies. But by her mid-twenties, she began to grow reclusive, rarely leaving her room in the family home. Unrecognized and virtually unpublished during her lifetime, it wasn’t until after Emily’s death that her poetry found a wide audience and Emily herself became the most widely read female poet in the English language.

Below is a list of the The Big Read Miami events. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.

Big Read Kickoff with Emily: Catch up with Emily Dickinson at Brickell, Civic Center and Government Center Metrorail stations, as she recites her poems for morning commuters. Then come hang with Emily during happy hour on Lincoln Road. Friday, March 16 at Metrorail Stations (Brickell, Civic Center and Government Center)

South Florida Book Club Mixer: A little wine, a little cheese, and a free copy of The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. What could be better than that, you ask? A question-and-answer segment with Dickinson biographer and scholar, Lyndall Gordon. For book clubs only. RSVP to 8 p.m., Tues., March 20 at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables

Keynote Lecture by Lyndall Gordon: Celebrate the life of Emily Dickinson when Gordon, author of Lives Like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds, reveals a firestorm of family drama played out against the backdrop of Emily’s carefully controlled world — from adultery, to the battles for control of her unpublished manuscripts.
7 p.m., Wed., March 21 at Miami-Dade County Public Library, Coral Gables Branch, 3443 Segovia Street, Coral Gables

Arts & Letters Day with Emily Dickinson: Come see and hear Emily Dickinson in person as actress Barbara Dana recites poetry and excerpts from The Belle of Amherst dressed as Emily for MDC’s Kendall Campus’ Arts & Letters Day. 10 a.m., Wednesday, April 4 at Kendall Campus, Beat Café.

The Belle of Amherst: Celebrated for her intense and sensitive portrayal of Emily Dickinson, actress Barbara Dana brings to life the iconic American poet in an unforgettable one-woman performance of The Belle of Amherst.
6 p.m., Thurs., April 5 at MDC Wolfson Campus Auditorium, 300 N.E. Second Avenue, downtown Miami

Remembranzas de Emily (Remembering the Life of Emily Dickinson): An original play in Spanish with English supertitles. While visiting the Emily Dickinson House (now a museum), visitors are taken back to a time when it was filled with the Dickinson family.
8 p.m., Thurs-Saturday, April 12-14, MDC Wolfson Campus, Teatro Prometeo, 300 N.E. Second Ave., downtown Miami

Book Discussions: More than 20 book discussions will take place at various branches of the Miami-Dade Public Library System, and other locations throughout Miami-Dade County. Visit or for dates, times and locations.

Trivia Contest: On Thursday, March 29, follow @thecenteratmdc on Twitter and answer questions about Emily to win a free copy of The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.

Emily’s Garden: From March 15 – April 15, visit the Miami Beach Botanical Garden to find Emily, and visit the Poet Tree, where you can take a poem off a branch or leave one for someone else to find. Then walk around and read poems by Emily Dickinson amidst one of her greatest inspirations – the garden. Miami Beach Botanical Garden, 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach

Story Time with Emily: Bring the whole family to HistoryMiami Family Fun Day where children (ages 3-5) can participate in a Story Time activity that will teach them about Emily Dickinson and her poetry.
Sat., April 14 at 2 p.m., HistoryMiami, 101 West Flagler St., downtown Miami

The Big Read Miami

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