Summer Has Two Beginnings

The Favorite Poem Project: Adam Sweeting reads Emily Dickinson

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Click on the video above to see Adam Sweeting read an Emily Dickinson poem.

Adam Sweeting, an associate professor of humanities in the College of General Studies, reads an untitled 1877 poem by Emily Dickinson.

“Although she doesn’t use the term ‘Indian summer,’ Dickinson allowed the season to seem like this jarring interlude that suddenly interrupted the normal flow of temperatures and time,” says Sweeting, whose book Beneath the Second Sun: a Cultural History of Indian Summer was published in 2003. Sweeting’s research focuses on the interplay between cultural and natural forces in 19th-century America.

“By reading poems we love aloud, we can learn how much pleasure there can be in the sounds of words,” says Robert Pinsky, a College of Arts and Sciences professor of English and a former U.S. poet laureate. “It’s as though saying the words of a poem aloud makes one feel more able, more capable than in ordinary life. You enter a different state.”

Pinsky founded the Favorite Poem Project in 1997 during the first of an unprecedented three terms as poet laureate to encourage Americans to celebrate and explore their love of poetry. Since then, the project — now directed by BU poet Maggie Dietz (GRS’97) — has produced three anthologies and more than 1,000 readings around the country.

BU Today occasionally features a member of the BU community reading his or her favorite poem. Any student or faculty or staff member can participate.

If you’d like to read your favorite poem for BU Today, e-mail us at

Edward A. Brown can be reached at

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Summer Has Two Beginnings

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