Posted by: jeannineatkins | May 22, 2012

The Little White House Project

Forty little white houses with parts of Emily Dickinson’s poetry stenciled on the walls have been created by Deerfield Academy student Peter Krasnzekewicz, and set up around the Emily Dickinson Museum. I recently walked from Jones Library down Amherst’s Main Street, past these houses, though most are clustered in the garden by her house or the one next door where her brother and his wife, her dear friend, lived.

“Dwell in Possibility” will be on display until the end of June and can be seen at no charge. I liked recognizing words and phrases, relying on memory, and settling for spaces between words, as I encountered a new way into or around some of Emily Dickinson’s best known poems. Would she have liked the way we wandered, piecing together broken lines? I don’t know, but don’t we often grasp poetry a word or clue at a time, swept along by questions as much as completion?



  1. I love this. I can just imagine the feeling of walking along, seeing the words in that setting, having time between each house to let them sink in.

    • Yes, it was cool to have words, flowers, other appreciators, circling and looking and remembering… I’m sure others, like me, went home and opened an old cherished collection.

  2. Only in Massachusetts would they pay homage to a poet. I can see little buildings in Virginia with the words of Jefferson or Madison on them–not!

    • Well, I expect there was some heated discussion at the Emily Dickson museum before this project flew. And I’m sure some discussions continue. Amherst is full of discussions. I remember years back, talk of changing the town’s name to Emily, as Lord Jeffrey Amherst isn’t such a grand hero from modern eyes.

  3. I’m delighted that this is the work of a young man – an early appreciator. And then to think of a town named Emily.

    • Yes, what a great way to be thinking about Dickinson instead of how her words can be used on tests. I guess renaming the town would be complicated, but there is an Emily street!

  4. LOVE this. I think Emily would have approved. 🙂

    • Oh, I’m glad you think so, too, Jama. Cryptic little houses built here and there among the trees and grass and bleeding hearts. Really, what could be more poetic?

  5. Such a cool exhibit…I saw mention of it on another LJ friend’s blog, and right away, I thought of you & Peter.

    “Dwell in possibility” is one of my all-time favorite phrases. I didn’t know of Emily Dickenson at the time, but I tend to believe that’s how I survived my childhood.I live & breathe that concept even now (for the most part. We all stumble, now and again.)

    • I missed that blog mention, but Peter told me you mentioned it to him, so thank you! And what a lovely, concise sketch of your life: like a small outline for your book.

  6. Oh, how lovely! I wish I was nearby and could visit!

    • Yes, it would be fun to have you and all Poetry Friday folks milling around, pondering, then stopping for whole wheat cherry scones at the great bakery across the street!

  7. OH! I Wish i could have seen this exhibit!!!

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