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Activity Group 3: Reading in Space and Time

Emily Dickinson's poetry frequently appears in Horn's work, and these exercises invite you to consider how Horn uses Dickinson as one of her doubles.

Dickinson was a woman writing in the nineteenth century. While many of her poems are well-known to us today, she elected not to publish most of her poems during her lifetime (1930–1889).

Dickinson's work often responded to the natural environment, so one can find mention of the gardens and landscapes important to her, and to her fellow nineteen century Americans across her poems.

She never titled her poems, and today, we use the poems' first lines as titles.

For more information on Dickinson, you can go to her biography on the Academy of American Poets website.

We would love to hear how you have used Reading Resources. Please share feedback and student work here.

Exercise 1

Have someone read Dickinson's poem, "Hope is the thing with feathers," aloud to you at least twice. As they read, draw any images that come to your mind.

Have them read the poem a second time. Continue drawing, and add more detail to the images on the page.

After drawing, look closely at your own work. What images do you see? Did you draw your images with particular emotion? Do they look sad, happy, scared, angry, etc.? Why?

Exercise 2

Roni Horn makes artwork using Dickinson's poetry as an inspiration, guide, material, etc.

Open or download an image of the work "When Dickinson shut her eyes no. 562 [conjecturing a climate]".

  1. Looking: write down at least five observations about what you see.
  2. Reading: What do you read? What do you have to read? What is easiest to read and why? What is hardest to read and why? Put these thoughts down in writing or tell someone who can write it down for you.
Exercise 3

For further learning, we suggest you pair these exercises with Reading Resources: Glenn Ligon, Activity Group 1: Reading is a Creative Act.

Colophon

Reading Resources: Roni Horn was produced by Art Resources Transfer (A.R.T.) in collaboration with Wendy Tronrud (A.R.T. Education Consultant) in 2018–19.

A.R.T. acknowledges the invaluable generosity, assistance, and enthusiasm of all who contributed to Reading Resources production:

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

We also thank:
National Endowment for the Arts
H.W. Wilson Foundation
Hauser & Wirth
Florence Derieux
Abby Merrick, Roni Horn Studio Manager
A.R.T. Board of Directors
and most specially, Roni Horn.

Web programming by Jeff Khonsary, with typography by Benedikt Reichenbach.
Copyright © Art Resources Transfer, Inc 2019.

All images are protected under copyright by the original rights holders.

A.R.T. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

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