Martha Ackmann

Join us on Thursday, June 18 at 7:00pm on Zoom for a virtual event with Martha Ackmann, author of These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson. Martha will be in conversation with Cindy MacKenzie, Associate Professor, emerita, at the University of Regina, and author of A Concordance to the Letters of Emily Dickinson.

You can join the webinar on Zoom here. Questions about joining a Zoom event? Please email

About the Book

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

On August 3, 1845, young Emily Dickinson declared, “All things are ready” and with this resolute statement, her life as a poet began. Despite spending her days almost entirely “at home” (the occupation listed on her death certificate), Dickinson’s interior world was extraordinary. She loved passionately, was hesitant about publication, embraced seclusion, and created 1,789 poems that she tucked into a dresser drawer.

In These Fevered Days, Martha Ackmann unravels the mysteries of Dickinson’s life through ten decisive episodes that distill her evolution as a poet. Ackmann follows Dickinson through her religious crisis while a student at Mount Holyoke, which prefigured her lifelong ambivalence toward organized religion and her deep, private spirituality. We see the poet through her exhilarating frenzy of composition, through which we come to understand her fiercely self-critical eye and her relationship with sister-in-law and first reader, Susan Dickinson. Contrary to her reputation as a recluse, Dickinson makes the startling decision to ask a famous editor for advice, writes anguished letters to an unidentified “Master,” and keeps up a lifelong friendship with writer Helen Hunt Jackson. At the peak of her literary productivity, she is seized with despair in confronting possible blindness.

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.

About the Participants

Martha Ackmann, author of These Fevered DaysCurveball, and The Mercury 13, writes about women who have changed America. The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, Ackmann taught a popular seminar on Dickinson at Mount Holyoke College and lives in western Massachusetts.

Cindy MacKenzie is Associate Professor, emerita, at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada.  She is the author of A Concordance to the Letters of Emily Dickinson and editor of Essays and Meditations on the Healing Power of Emily Dickinson and Reading Dickinson’s Letters. 


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Get Your Copy

Purchased your SIGNED copy of These Fevered Days, below!

Event date: 
Thursday, June 18, 2020 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Odyssey Bookshop
9 College Street
South Haldey, MA 01075
These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393609301
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 25th, 2020

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