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The Folger Spotlight

ENCORES: Emily Dickinson Poetry Reading with Aracelis Girmay (2011)

Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darkness
Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darkness

Folger Public Programs is pleased to present ENCORES, a weekly online series highlighting past performances and recalling the rich history of programming on the historic Folger stage. As many arts and cultural institutions remain closed during this time, these ENCORES provide a way to connect and revisit the breadth of Folger offerings with a wider audience.

ENCORES presents

O.B. Hardison Poetry Series
The Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute
with Aracelis Girmay
Recorded December, 2011

Aracelis Girmay read her poems

  • Explaining the Landmine to a Small Child
  • Praise Song for the Donkey

Both from Animal Kingdom, published by BOA Editions, Ltd., 2011.

She also read the following poems by Emily Dickinson

  • From all the Jails the Boys and Girls
  • Dear March-Come In
  • I felt a Funeral, in my Brain

Learn more about the reading on Folgerpedia. To make a black cake inspired by Emily Dickinson’s own recipe, click here.

This year’s Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute  was held on December 10, 2020 and featured poet Dorianne Laux as well as a virtual tour of Emily Dickinson’s bedroom in Amherst. A recording of this event is available to 2020/21 O.B Haridison Poetry Subscribers, along with recordings of our earlier readings featuring Toi Derricotte, Stephanie Burt, and Taylor Johnson. Contact the Folger Box Office at 202.544.7077 to find out more about becoming a subscriber.

Read the introduction by poet Aracelis Girmay:

Hello and welcome to Folger ENCORES! I’m Aracelis Girmay. The Folger has been sharing selections from their plays, music and poetry with you in this ENCORES series.

This week, we’re revisiting the Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute reading I did at the Folger Shakespeare Library nearly ten years ago. To me, it was magical to share the night with Alice Quinn and the Folger community, and to read Dickinson’s intimate, electric poems and excerpts from letters, and for my own poems and influences—among them, Minnie Riperton and Lucille Clifton—to shimmer in the December air with hers.

This year, Emilly Dickinson turns 190. We hope that you will enjoy this small sample from the Folger Poetry annual Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute.

Please join us again for these weekly episodes of ENCORES, highlighting all that the Folger has to offer. Thank you.


Encores LogoCheck back each Friday for a new “from the archives” performance, introduced by some of our favorite artists, showcasing the best of Folger TheatreFolger ConsortO.B. Hardison Poetry, and lectures.