These Fevered Days with Martha Ackmann

June 1, 2020 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Michelle Dempsey

This online program will be streamed live via Zoom.

An engaging, intimate portrait of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s greatest and most-mythologized poets, that sheds new light on her groundbreaking poetry.

“Radiant prose, palpable descriptions, and deep empathy for the poet’s sensibility make this biography extraordinary.” —Kirkus Review

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In These Fevered Days, Martha Ackmann unravels the mysteries of Dickinson’s life through ten decisive episodes that distill her evolution as a poet including, her religious crisis while a student at Mount Holyoke, her exhilarating frenzy of composition, her startling decision to ask a famous editor for advice, and her anguished letters to an unidentified “Master.”

Utilizing thousands of archival letters and poems as well as never-before-seen photos, These Fevered Days constructs a remarkable map of Emily Dickinson’s inner life. Together, these ten days provide new insights into her wildly original poetry and render a concise and vivid portrait of American literature’s most enigmatic figure.


Martha Ackmann is a journalist and author who writes about women who have changed America. She has published 13 books including These Fevered Days, Curveball, and The Mercury 13. The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, Ackmann taught a popular seminar on Dickinson at Mount Holyoke College and lives in western Massachusetts. Her essays and columns have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times. She also is a frequent commentator for New England Public Radio, and has been featured on CNN, National Public Radio, and the BBC.

Cindy Dickinson is the Director of Education at Hancock Shaker Village. For nineteen years, she worked at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, serving for many years as Director of Interpretation and Programming. She is not related to the poet