You are here


Our next #DickinsonLive talk will take place on May 7th, at 2PM EST. Members will receive the zoom link the day before. Interested others are welcome. Write for the link.

Title: "Emily Dickinson in the 21st Century: Black Lives Matter!” A reading of original poems from our conversation with Emily Dickinson, by Ivy Schweitzer and Al Salehi

Abstract: How could a woman from an elite Puritan family living in mid-19th-century Amherst possibly be relevant to today’s struggles over racial injustice, oppression, and politics? Compelled by the history of injustices that reached a breaking point in the summer of 2020, we set out in this project to explore Dickinson’s revolutionary poetic voice as it inspired and, surprisingly, echoed our own poetic meditations on the crucial national reckoning about race and justice. This project came about as Al Salehi, a graduate student in Dartmouth’s Liberal Studies program, explored Dickinson’s poetry with Professor Ivy Schweitzer. Inspired by Dickinson, Al produced a manuscript of poems on issues related to the #Blacklivesmatter movements. Ivy, then, composed poems in conversation with both Emily and Al. Their talk highlights the continuing relevance and inspiration of Dickinson’s poetry. They describe their collaboration and read several sections of the now completed manuscript.

Ivy Schweitzer is Professor of English and Creative Writing, and past chair of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Dartmouth College. Her fields are early American literature, American poetry, women’s literature, gender and cultural studies, and digital humanities. She is the editor of The Occom Circle, a digital edition of works by and about Samson Occom, an 18th century Mohegan Indian writer and activist, and co-producer of a full-length documentary film entitled It’s Criminal: A Tale of Prison and Privilege, based on the courses she co-teaches in and about jails. In 2018, she blogged weekly about the year 1862 in the creative life of Emily Dickinson, and recently co-edited a collection of essays in honor of the Occom Circle titled Afterlives of Indigenous Archives. She is currently collaborating on a poetry manuscript entitled “Emily Dickinson in the 21st Century: Black Lives Matter!”

Ali Abdolsalehi “Al Salehi” is an American of Persian descent. Ali earned his BA at UCLA and went on to specialize in Digital Library Technologies at Harvard Graduate School of Education. He is the CEO of Glancing Interactive Solutions, a biotech company. In June 2021, he will earn his Masters in Liberal Studies with a focus on Creative Writing from Dartmouth College’s Guarini School of Graduate Studies. His thesis is a manuscript of original poems in dialogue with Emily Dickinson on issues related to #Blacklivesmatter movements. Ali has also authored several other full length poetry manuscripts, “The History of Light,” a prequel to “Enter Atlas,” which was a semi-finalist for the University of Wisconsin’s Brittingham & Felix Pollak Prizes in Poetry, judged by Natasha Trethewey. Ali also plays the electric violin and enjoys making people laugh. He plans on pursuing an MFA or PhD in Creative Writing with a focus on poetry.