We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

The Paris Review once asked former U.S. poet laureate Kay Ryan if she thought her poetry was like Emily Dickinson’s. Ryan’s response: “That question is like asking, ‘Do you think you’re much like God?’” Good answer, but it’s a dodge, don’t you think? We’re all created in God’s image, as they say, and there’s an unmistakable echo of Dickinson in Ryan’s poems: the intense concision, the inventive rhyme, the stormclouds-brewing sensibility. (It’s easy to imagine Dickinson admiring Ryan’s notion that “tenderness and rot/share a border.”) For this Dickinson birthday celebration, co-sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Poetry Society of America, Ryan will openly draw those connections, reading from her own work and that of her lyrical antecedent.