Monday, April 4, 2016

Join us for The Big Read

Birmingham-Southern College will host a series of events in April on campus and around the metro area to further understanding of the work of Emily Dickinson in conjunction with the Big Read Birmingham project.

Programs will look at Dickinson's poetry via literary analysis, creative writing, visual art, and more and include the Jefferson County Library Cooperative, Hoover Senior Center, Desert Island Supply Company, Creative Scholars, and Wordsmiths. Participants at many events will receive free copies of the featured book, The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.

"We chose these poems for their broad appeal to a number of audiences and because there are so many ways to look at them," said BSC librarian Stacey Thornberry, the project's organizer. "We wanted to find ways to look at Dickinson's work that are relevant to our community here in Birmingham, and also to spark an interest in poetry in general."

BSC received support from the National Big Read, Books-A-Million, and from the Alabama Humanities Foundation; All Big Read events hosted by BSC or other community organizations are free and open to the public.

Lesley Dill. "The Poetic Body: Poem Gloves,"
1992. Smith College Collections, SC1992:47b
The centerpiece of campus events will be an exhibition by the New York-based artist Lesley Dill, whose sculpture, photography, and performance draw inspiration from and include Dickinson's text. Her pieces have been widely shown and are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of Art.

A selection of Dill's works will be on display at the Durbin Gallery from April 4-28; the gallery is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday; the official opening reception is Friday, April 8 from 6-8 p.m. Dill will give an artist's talk on Thursday, April 7 at from 4-5 p.m. in the Norton Theatre on campus and she'll also hold printmaking workshops for BSC students on Thursday, April 7 from 12:30-3:30 p.m. and on Friday, April 8 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Members of the public may be permitted to attend the workshop if space is available; call 205-226-4750 to inquire about reservations.)

On April 5, BSC will host keynote speaker Dr. Michelle Kohler, a professor at Tulane University, who will talk on "Fatal Promptness: Dickinson, Clocks, and the Disarray of Time." The event, which will be held in the Norton Theatre at 11 a.m., is free and open to the public.

Birmingham-Southern faculty will also lend their expertise to the Big Read:
  • On April 4, Robert E. Luckie Jr. Professor of English Dr. Sandra Sprayberry, along with her Contemporary Poetry class, will read and discuss Dickinson's poetry at the Avondale Branch of the Birmingham Public Library and lead a workshop for participants to create their own poetry.
  • Dr. Lucas Johnson, who directs BSC's Writing Center, will lead a workshop with assistance from BSC students at Desert Island Supply Company's afterschool writing program on April 6; then the students will lead the workshop April 13, 20, and 27.
  • Professor Emeritus of Library Science Dr. Guy Hubbs will lead a discussion on life during the Civil War, which heavily influenced Dickinson's Poetry, at the Hoover Senior Center on Wednesday, April 6 at 12:15 p.m.
In the BSC library, visitors will be able to take in an exhibit about Dickinson in the library's exhibition space (in front of the Reference Librarian's office), and, coming soon, can take a selfie with the Belle of Amherst.

(Text of this post is largely taken from the BSC Department of Communications' news release about The Big Read.)

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