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Fragmented Realities: Experiments in Emily Dickinson’s Poetry Through Music

Wednesday 11 May 2022 | 1.30pm – 4:30pm

Join us for an improvised, multi-disciplinary live performance and workshop.

Norwich University of the Arts research group Created and Contested Territories is pleased to present an improvised, multi-disciplinary live performance which invites the audience to consider the authentic temporal experience of a day in the life of the American poet Emily Dickinson.

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The content of the performance and workshop derives from Emily Dickinson’s poetic annotations and envelope writings, her daily domestic rituals, and the intimate sonic world in which she practised and performed music. Her accomplishment as a piano player involved repetitive practice of various études and finger exercises. Ballads that she sang would segue into the rhythm of her poetry and letters; the fragments themselves interpreted as micro-balladry, sung in snatches. Dickinson’s innate epigrammatic ethos created small windows into her daily observations, feelings and experience.

Responding to these miniature texts, the piece acts as an immersive venture into the poet’s process – and situates the female performer as a conduit for Dickinson’s seizing of moments for expression. Iterations of voice and piano are complemented by the ‘enactment’ of projected imagery; via contemporaneous sources, materials and techniques. Through the use of performance, improvisation, and visual experiment – where pianistic and vocal fragments from her music folio, and ‘textual snatches’ from her envelope poems are strategically de-constructed, re-constructed, and re-presented via VJ animation – there exists a ‘dwelling in possibility’ as new sonic, poetic and visual metaphors unfold.

Reading Emily Dickinson’s ‘envelope’ poems and ballad lyrics from her folio, workshop groups will create vocal work and a ‘re-framing’ of the material. Working with small textual and visual fragments, the attendees will make new ‘envelope’ poems of their own.


1.30pm – 2.15pm, Performance

2.15pm – 2.30pm, Break

2.30pm – 4.30pm, Workshops


Dr Nicole Panizza

Coventry University,
Piano performance 

Prof Suzie Hanna

Norwich University of the Arts,
Visual Jamming animation performance

Dr Hannah Sanders

Professional singer and musician,
Voice performance 

Dr Sally Bayley

Author, Tutor at Oxford University,
Producer and Advisor


Places are limited, so register now to avoid disappointment.

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This event is free | refreshments are not included.

Wheelchair access

Please note due to circumstances beyond our control, this venue is not accessible to wheelchair user.


Anteros Arts Foundation,
7-15 Fye Bridge Street,

A map showing the location 52.63334749687836, 1.2969923473290157

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