Emily Dickinson Book Club

Thursday evenings, 6 pm-7 pm Pacific, April 6-May 25, 2023

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Emily Dickinson was one of the most innovative, original, and important poets of the nineteenth century, and the wild intelligence and subversiveness evident in her poems make her one of the most rewarding—and sometimes confounding—poets to read and study. 

In this eight-week course, we will look at a handful of poems in each session selected and organized by theme. We will read the poems closely, and discuss exactly what they say, and figure out what they mean. 

We will also look into the life of this “Queen Recluse,” and separate the popular myth of a delicate, even fragile genius who retreats into a kind of domestic exile, secreting her poems away from the world, from the reality of an artistically ambitious, major writer who knew and corresponded with some of the leading literary personalities of her day, who was the recipient of an exceptionally fine education, and who was certainly aware of her own talent and achievement. 

By the end of the course, you will have a clear vision of who Emily Dickinson was, what her poems say and contain, and why she is so magnificent, surprising, and relevant. 


Each meeting of the book club will be recorded and emailed out to all ticketholders automatically, usually within 48 hours. That way, even if you can't make the live meeting, you won't miss out on any of the material. 


This club will be led by the award-winning poet Mark Wunderlich, who is the author of four books, including most recently God of Nothingness. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, and many other places. He is the director of Bennington Writing Seminars.


The only book you will need for this course is The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. If you purchase the edition available at that link, you will have the same page numbers as everyone else during discussions, and you will also be supporting FrizzLit, which produces this book club. Alternately, you are encouraged to support a local independent bookstore of your choice, or you may find the book at the library. 


If you would like to join this class but price is a barrier, sponsorship funds are available to help make it possible. Please apply here.


If you choose to pay $300 for this club, you are automatically making a $100 donation to the financial assistance fund. If you pay $400, you are making a $200 donation, which funds a full scholarship for someone who would not be able to afford this experience otherwise. Thank you for making this book club accessible to more people.


Emily Dickinson portrait by Kathryn Rathke