Thom Tammaro (MFA, English) and Sheila Coghill (English) have been invited to the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Mass., April 1-2, as the featured speakers for the kick-off of Amherst’s “Big Read” event. Tammaro and Coghill will be joined by former U.S. Poet Laureate and two-time Pulitzer Prize winning poet Richard Wilbur, and MacArthur Fellow and poet Alice Fulton, the Ann S. Bowers Professor of English at Cornell University. Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Big Read is a program designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America, a 2004 NEA report, identified a critical decline in reading for pleasure among American adults. The Big Read aims to address this issue directly by providing citizens with the opportunity to read and discuss a single book within their communities. THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON is one of the featured books in the NEA’s Big Read program. In addition to their opening lecture and program, Tammaro & Coghill will conduct a community writing workshop titled “Talking Back to Emily,” and address guests at the Dickinson Museum’s annual donor dinner.

Tammaro and Coghill are the editors of VISITING EMILY: POEMS INSPIRED BY THE LIFE AND WORK OF EMILY DICKINSON, published in 2000 by the University of Iowa Press, which continues to be one of the Press’ best selling anthologies and oft-used college textbook in courses on Emily Dickinson. Their scholarly and creative work with Dickinson has been published in THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, THE EMILY DICKINSON JOURNAL, and THE EMILY DICKINSON INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY BULLETIN, and they have been invited to speak on Dickinson at the University of Regina (Canada), The Emily Dickinson Society’s Annual Meetings in Amherst, Massachusetts, the University of Maryland, and at the dedication of the Emily Dickinson Garden at the Bettendorf (Iowa) Public Library. They were also featured on NPR’s “Sunday Morning Edition” with Liane Hansen. Visiting Emily was a recipient of a 2001 Minnesota Book Award and one of six books to receive the prestigious American Association of University Presses Design Award for 2001.