UMSL lecture tells of poet Emily Dickinson’s surprising Irish wake

When the famously reclusive American poet Emily Dickinson died in 1886, she left specific directives for a funeral rich in Irish Catholic motifs – shocking her family and friends.

The University of Missouri–St. Louis will present, “Emily Dickinson’s Irish Wake,” from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Oct. 19 in 331 Social Sciences & Business Building at UMSL. Dickinson historian Aífe Murray will give the lecture, which is free and open to the public.

According to Murray, Dickinson may seem like a classic Yankee, but in life (and in death) she was surrounded by Irish immigrants. None was more important than Margaret Maher, the Tipperary-born maid who defied the poet’s instructions to burn her poems. Dickinson selected six of her family’s Irish Catholic laborers to be her pallbearers, which surprised many people. Her funeral provides one last peak into what was important to the poet and how her Irish servants shaped her life and poetry.

Murray is a Dickinson expert who has been in-residence at the Emily Dickinson Museum; conceived and led public walking tours of Amherst from the Dickinson servants’ perspective; created a mixed media installation about the poet; and wrote “Art of Service.”

Along with UMSL, this lecture is co-sponsored by the Smurfit-Stone Endowed Professorship in Irish Studies at UMSL and the Center for International Studies at UMSL.

A parking permit is required for all visitors to UMSL.

More information:
To request your free permit, a campus map and to make a reservation, visit http://www.cfis-umsl.com or call 314-516-7299.

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