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Big Read keynote speaker to discuss Emily Dickinson April 23-24
Monday, April 21, 2014

Big Read keynote speaker to discuss Emily Dickinson April 23-24

Dr. Alexandra Socarides

Keynote speaker Alexandra Socarides, associate professor of English at the University of Missouri, will discuss 19th century poetry as part of The Big Read series on Wednesday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House located at 9 Church St.

During her talk, “Layers of Erasure: Emily Dickinson and the Problems of Recovery,” Socarides will describe the ways in which women’s poetry was everywhere in the 19th century and explore a new explanation for its erasure from literary history. It is believed that Emily Dickinson remains the only 19th century American woman poet to be taught in high schools and colleges as well as read by a general and robust audience.

It is free event and open to the public.

Socarides teaches American poetry, the history of poetics, and 19th century literature and culture. Her first book, “Dickinson Unbound: Paper, Process, Poetics,” was published by Oxford University Press in 2012. She has received fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Huntington Library, and Winterthur to work on her next book, which is about 19th century American women’s poetry and its subsequent “erasure” from literary history. She has recently become a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she writes a regular column, “The Poems (We Think) We Know.”

In addition, Dr. Socarides will discuss the works of Emily Dickinson on Thursday, April 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m at the Patterson Library at 40 S. Portage St., Westfield.

The talk, “’Just How the Fingers Hurried’: Emily Dickinson and Poetry Making,” will explore how reading Emily Dickinson’s poems with a variety of questions in mind gives new access to her work. The event is free and open to the public.

The Big Read supports organizations across the country in developing community-wide programs which encourage reading and participation by diverse audiences. Daniel A. Reed Library at SUNY Fredonia, in cooperation with the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System and the National Endowment for the Arts, selected The Poetry of Emily Dickinson for this year's Big Read. Co-sponsors include the Mary Louise White Fund of the Fredonia College Foundation and the Department of English.

For more information contact Emily VanDette, associate professor of English, at

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