Emily Dickinson's life and works will be celebrated with music and dancing today as part of a national program to promote reading.
Big Read, an initiative started by the National Endowment for the Arts, has been brought to Tucson by Kore Press, a local nonprofit that publishes women's writings and works with young people to educate them about social change and literary activism.
Big Read started in 2006 after a national study showed a significant decline in reading, especially among at-risk teens.
Since then, organizations such as Kore Press have received funding to promote reading in their communities.
Lisa Bowden, head of Kore Press, said Big Read recipients are given a choice of poets and writers on which to focus. Kore Press chose Emily Dickinson because she was the only female poet offered.
Tonight's performance is part of a 10-week series of events and will include violinist Vickie Brown, who performs regularly with Tucson's Movement Salon, as well as the NEW ARTiculations Dance Theatre, a local modern dance company.
The performers have researched Dickinson's work to create dance and music to celebrate her poetry, Bowden said.
"It's absolutely stunning," she said. "Poetry is embedded directly into the performance."
Bowden said Dickinson's work has been delivered across Tucson in many ways, through slam poets and chess players as well as readers who do not speak English.
"Working on this reminded me how rich we are in Tucson - rich with kindness and talent," she said. "It's great to bring it all together through the work of a female poet."
If you go
• What: "If My Verse Is Alive . . ." an evening of dance and music performances inspired by the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson.
• When: 7 p.m. today.
• Where: Pima Community College Center for the Arts Proscenium Theater, 2202 W. Anklam Road.
• Admission: Tickets can be purchased tonight at the Pima Community College box office for $15.
• More information: To learn more about Kore Press and Big Read, and to learn of other upcoming events, visit www.korepress.org/bigread2011.htm
Contact reporter Patty Machelor at 806-7754 or email@example.com