Home Site Develops

Posted in Writer news on December 16th, 2018 by admin – Be the first to comment

A broad website initiative is now in-process to deepen resources for teachers, students, and interested readers on some of the projects in which I am engaged:

  • Emily Dickinson & her multicultural world at home with servants – Maid as Muse
  • The Garden State’s KKK - The Ku Klux Klan at Home in Hillsdale
  • After Brown: school desegregation in New England – We Bused in New Haven
  • Come back for a visit in Summer 2019

New Distributor!

Posted in book news on November 28th, 2018 by admin – Be the first to comment

The University of Massachusetts Press is poised to become sole distributor for Maid as Muse. The news has just been released by the provost of the University of New Hampshire, publisher of Maid as Muse.

UMass Press selected Maid as Muse upon the closure of the University Press of New England which had been sole distributor.

Books will ship to UMass Press by the end of 2018 and will be available once inventory is complete.

In the meantime Indiebound will fulfill orders until UMass is ready to ship Maid as Muse to your door!

Emily Dickinson Does Stand-Up

Posted in cooking on June 6th, 2018 by admin – Be the first to comment

A funny thing happened

on the way to the kitchen….

Credit: T.O. Sylvester

Two Butterflies went out at Noon to CCA

Posted in book news on April 3rd, 2017 by admin – Be the first to comment

Bound Friday noon to the industrial-scape between the Mission and Potrero Hill and somewhere else less defined –perhaps the millworks on the far side of the Dickinson meadow?– to visit the California College of Arts writers studying Emily Dickinson with Gloria Frym.

We’ll be thinking about maids and laborers, often unseen in the poet’s story, and what to make of these women and men in terms of their own lives — and Emily Dickinson’s life and craft and works of art.

… related to my book Maid as Muse.

Not sure yet where else we’ll go but if any seminar participants want to pose a question in advance, happy to ponder.

Wish I could bring Emily’s mute confederate to class. But with luck: butterflies

Have Black Cake & Eat It Too

Posted in Media, book news on January 15th, 2017 by admin – Be the first to comment

Emily Dickinson’s hidden kitchen & those unseen folks with whom she spent time in the domestic arena are the subject of a blog post and podcast – Episode #62 — by The Kitchen Sisters! Links for the podcast — to itunes, stitcher RSS — from this page.

Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah — it’s Emily

Posted in Justice, poetry on January 4th, 2017 by admin – Be the first to comment

The big story about Emily Dickinson isn’t simply that she was a foodie and well-reputed bakerbut who was in the kitchen with her.

Revealing a truly American tale,  the poet-daughter of a Yankee lawyer, of English stock, rubs elbows daily in the kitchen with immigrants, the descendants of slaves, and with Native American maids, laborers, gardeners, and seamstresses.

Among them was Margaret Maher, an Irish immigrant who, as cook and maid, spent 17 years sharing the kitchen with baker Emily.

At the top left of this Kelley family portrait — almost all of whom worked for the poet — is Tom Kelley, the man Emily requested as her chief pallbearer. Below is Native man and Dickinson laborer Henry Hawkins with his Native-African American granddaughter Helen in a snapshot taken in their backyard. Below them (on some but not all platforms) is a studio portrait of Henry’s mother-in-law, Eliza Thompson, who was often hired to serve guests at the Dickinson’s annual summer gatherings.

The well-loved myth of the recluse erases what was really going on — from maids and laborers exerting linguistic influences on her language to actually saving her poems from planned destruction.

For more drop in and tune up to the Kitchen Sisters upcoming show on Emily D’s hidden kitchen.

Tune-in Hearth-side

Posted in Media on January 3rd, 2017 by admin – Be the first to comment

The talented duo known as the Kitchen Sisters are set to expand their seven minute Morning Edition spot about prolific baker Emily Dickinson — better known now as a poet.

One of their story development sources will be Maid as Muse when they take “a longer look at ED’s kitchen and life for our podcast,” reports Nikki Silva.

Look forward to hearing deeper broadcasting about the farm-to-table-poet.

Even after a maid was hired — when Emily D. could have run upstairs & slammed her bedroom door to freedom as she told her niece Mattie — the baker-poet gravitated to the kitchen where, in that companionable & generative space alongside her maid, she wrote.

Broadcast date to be announced!

Emily’s Hidden Kitchen Sisters

Posted in Justice, poetry on December 28th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

Excellent podcast by the Kitchen Sisters on Emily D. as prolific baker with cameos by Jean Mudge and Chris Benfey and Brenda Hillman. They even covered the issue of the poet getting her poems completely changed by editors during her lifetime and afterward.

To deepen the story of prolific baker and writer ED, let’s add the image of a teen Emily feeling urgency about her writing and bleak despair over the burden of dishes and family care — then doing serious lobbying of the parents to get a maid. She succeeded when her parents hired her a kitchen-sister — otherwise all we’d have are some fabulous recipes and a much meager literary output.

Interesting? Check out Maid as Muse

New Material on Domestic Front

Posted in poetry on August 8th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

New materials  about the women and men who formed a part of Emily Dickinson’s domestic world may soon become available for virtual and onsite visitors to the Emily Dickinson Museum.

New partnerships in the Pioneer Valley are in the developing stages with a plan to give visitors and scholars access to new documents and photographs on the maids, laborers, gardeners, blacksmiths, and others who interacted with and formed an intimate part of the poet’s little seen world at home.

More details soon of what is in the nascent stage of an exciting initiative about Emily Dickinson, poet, left in photo, and Margaret Maid, maid, on right, and her domestic colleagues.

All Quiet on the Snarkless Front

Posted in Media on February 16th, 2016 by admin – Be the first to comment

A special entry at the Berlin Film Festival, receiving a 4 star review by The Guardian, Terrence Davies’ A Quiet Passion film about Emily Dickinson is set to open in American movie houses.  The poet is, according to reviewer Andrew Pulver, “superbly played with a sort of restless passivity by Cynthia Nixon.”  Uh oh.

Movie action circulates between library, bedroom, and parlor — that tired narrative. Renown during her lifetime for her culinary prowess — could we see Emily writing at her pastry board and hovering over the stove? A confirmed naturalist, how about dog Carlo at her side while she tramps widely searching for specimens on the forest floor?

Early movie goers have complained of boredom.

An early clip has disappointed biographers and literary critics — perhaps because Emily Dickinson’s famous “Damascus blade wit” has been reassigned to the character of a Ms. Buffum. No Emily snark?

Sorry, but the early reports are of a passionless quiet.