Heartland of KMA 99.1 FM

Posted in Media on April 10th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off on Heartland of KMA 99.1 FM

Listen to the alfalfa dream itself awake – where Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska meet – and the Chuck and Don Show beckoning listeners with the warm tones of 99.1 FM…otherwise known as KMA Land.

Maid as Muse makes a stop in that broad Shenandoah landscape of corn futures and the broadcast-perfect accents (what accent?!) of south west Nebraska.

This is regional community radio at its best – so tune in to the Chuck and Don Show as our hosts interview the author of Maid as Muse.

Chuck and Don will explore the story of that famous recluse in white, Emily Dickinson, while introducing listeners to a long list of characters – maids, seamstresses, stablehands, gardeners – who shared the poet’s small town household and influenced one of America’s greatest writers.

Emily Dickinson was the real deal, a homegrown product who listened closely to everyone – including maids and laborers – and from that crafted poetry that still astonishes readers.

Listen, learn, become a fan of Maid as Muse!

Back to the Future: WPKN

Posted in Media on April 8th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off on Back to the Future: WPKN

long island sound

Connecticut is home turf for many descendants of the Dickinson servants. They include great grand+ nieces and nephews of gardener Horace Church whom Emily Dickinson likened to Charles Dickens’ Captain Cuttle.

Another Dickinson servant, Henry Hawkins, passed away in New Haven. His children and grandchildren later moved from Amherst and Holyoke in Massachusetts to Enfield and other towns in the Nutmeg State.

The poet’s chief pallbearer, Tom Kelley, stayed in Amherst about a quarter mile from the Dickinson Homestead but his descendants established firm roots in the rocky soil of Connecticut.

The shores of Long Island Sound are a place of origin for the author who grew up in New Haven. This March librarian Carol Brown arranged a well-attended debut of Maid as Muse at the New Haven Free Public Library — in the same building where Aife’s photo was snapped in the mid-1960s by roving photographer Michael Marcus.

The book signing in New Haven was followed two days later by a wonderful event arranged by Mary Muller at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford — the same town where maid Margaret Maher lived and worked until Emily Dickinson lured her to Amherst. That collaboration changed the course of literary history.

On Saturday, April 10 at 3:20 p.m. the Maid as Muse author returns to the shores of Long Island Sound in a live 15 minute interview with talented media host Bob Johnson. Tune into Second Saturday Magazine on WPKN. At 42 years old, WPKN is Connecticut’s oldest independent radio station. You’ll find it at 89.5 and 88.7 on the FM dial – for those of you who live near the Sound from Bridgeport to Montauk.

Live Radio with Dr. Alvin Jones

Posted in Media on April 7th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off on Live Radio with Dr. Alvin Jones

Today! 9:40 a.m. tune your dials to WCBQ-AM 1340 Oxford WHNC-AM 890. The Maid as Muse author is interviewed live for 10 minutes by Dr. Alvin Jones. Check out his interview roster of  luminaries and world leaders.

It’s also special to be on the Alvin Jones Show because his  listening audience includes descendants of the poet Emily Dickinson.

These North Carolinians include descendants of Henry Hawkins, the Native American laborer who worked for Emily Dickinson. Mr. Hawkins’ African American in-laws, Eliza and Charles Thompson, also worked for the poet’s family. Their photos grace the book flaps of Maid as Muse. Shout out to Luis, Robert, and David.

Descendants of Emily Dickinson’s chosen chief pallbearer, Irish immigrant Tom Kelley, are also North Carolinians. We know Tom was a key figure for the poet because she honored this family laborer with a key role in her self-scripted funeral. His photo, along with family members who also worked for Emily Dickinson, grace the back cover of the book. Shout out to Punky and her clan.

For those who miss the live broadcast, tune in later for the archived interview.

Voices of the Ozarks

Posted in Media on April 4th, 2010 by admin – Comments Off on Voices of the Ozarks

The Maid as Muse author travels – via the KUAF airwaves – to Fayetteville, the Ozarks, and beyond.

In an upcoming interview with media host, and University of Arkansas professor, Kyle Kellams, Aife Murray gets to talk about the voices in Emily Dickinson’s kitchen.

The famous poet (& baker) Emily Dickinson shared her kitchen with maids and laborers from varied backgrounds: English immigrant stablehands, African American gardeners, Irish immigrant maids,  white seamstresses, and Native American laborers.

For someone haunted by language, this was fortunate. Emily Dickinson thirsted on the rich vernacular languages spoken by her servants – and folded these influences into her poetry.

The Dickinson servants may not have left behind their own poetry – except for what Emily Dickinson heard them say and transmuted into some of the world’s most beautiful language.


On Air in Central California & Beyond

Posted in Media on April 1st, 2010 by admin – Comments Off on On Air in Central California & Beyond

Media host and Cuesta College teacher Guy Rathbun is “enraptured” by Maid as Muse. His interview with the author airs April 14 at 4 p.m.  The show is archived and streamed live on KCBX FM.

Californians from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara to the Santa Ynez Valley will learn about the cultural diversity of Emily Dickinson’s maids and laborers. These happen to be the folks the renowned poet hung out with while baking prize-winning breads, cakes and puddings in the privacy of her own kitchen.

While engaged in baking, Emily Dickinson drafted poems on the backs of recipes, shopping lists, chocolate bar wrappers, pharmacy flyers, and wings of envelopes.

This is when her African-American gardener, Amos Newport, stopped by to talk about the garden trellis or Native American laborer, Henry Hawkins, might drop off newly picked apples from the Dickinson orchard for a pie Emily Dickinson was baking.

Her English immigrant stableboy, “Little Pat,” talked with the not yet famous poet about wanting to learn to read and get ahead. Perhaps he did for he was later replaced by Stephen Sullivan, the son of Irish immigrant laundry worker Bridget Sullivan.

When Emily Dickinson died she honored the servants she spent so many hours with and who helped free her from the most onerous tasks so she could write. She chose six laborers as her pallbearers with Irish immigrant Tom Kelley – who comforted her in dire moments – singled out as her chief pallbearer.

Perhaps she wasn’t the recluse we know her as…

Turn in to Guy Rathbun’s interview with author Aife Murray and learn more!

Check out the book – chock-full of pictures of the maids and laborers who shared the kitchen with Emily Dickinson.

Listen to Open Mind on WGVU

Posted in Media on March 30th, 2010 by admin – 2 Comments

Open Mind Host Cecilia Skidmore

Michiganders can tune into Open Mind hosted by Cecilia Skidmore for WGVU on April 18, 2010 – and the rest of us can listen to the podcast – as Ms. Skidmore conducts an interview with the author of Maid as Muse that highlights a side of Emily Dickinson that has been previously hidden or overlooked.

The poet depended on her maid to help provide psychological balance and ballast for her intense literary productivity as well as Emily Dickinson’s anxious personality or extreme shyness.

This was especially true when Irish immigrant Margaret Maher joined the Dickinson household as maid-of-all-work. For seventeen years, the poet’s last, these two women baked together and talked. Margaret washed the dishes Emily Dickinson dried.

“What brings two minds closer than dish washing at the same sink?”

Listen to Cecilia Skidmore’s Open Mind interviewread the book, and become a fan!