Presented by the Academy of American Poets
An intimate conversation about the life and work of Emily Dickinson with poet Marie Howe, author of Magdalene and The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, and Madeleine Olnek, director of the 2018 film Wild Nights with Emily.
Wild Nights with Emily is a 2018 American biographical comedy film, written and directed by Madeleine Olnek.
In the mid-19th century, Emily Dickinson is writing prolifically, baking gingerbread, and enjoying a passionate, lifelong romantic relationship with another woman, her friend and sister-in-law Susan... yes this is the iconic American poet, popularly thought to have been a recluse. Beloved comic Molly Shannon leads in this humorous yet bold reappraisal of Dickinson, informed by her private letters. While seeking publication of some of the 1,775 poems written during her lifetime, Emily finds herself facing a troupe of male literary gatekeepers too confused by her genius to take her work seriously. Instead her work attracts the attention of an ambitious woman editor, who also sees Emily as a convenient cover for her own role in buttoned-up Amherst's most bizarre love triangle. A timely critique of how women's history is rewritten, Wild Nights with Emily remains vibrant, irreverent and tender—a perhaps closer depiction of Emily Dickinson's real life than anything seen before.
Madeleine Olnek is a New York City based playwright and filmmaker. Her debut feature “Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same” premiered at Sundance 2011. Her second feature “The Foxy Merkins,” included screenings at Sundance 2014, BAM Cinemafest, Lincoln Center, and an NYC theatrical run at IFP. Her award-winning and widely screened comedy shorts, “Countertransference,” (2009) and “Hold Up” (2006), were official selections of Sundance; “Make Room For Phyllis” (2007) premiered at Sarasota. Olnek was awarded best female short film director at Sundance in 2009, by LA’s Women In Film organization. Olnek graduated from NYU with a BFA in drama, where she trained in the acting conservatory program. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Brown University. She received her MFA in film from Columbia University where she was the recipient of a grant from Panasonic, for her work co-running the “Panasonic Kids Witness News,” a program which teaches under-privileged inner-city kids how to make their own short films. At Columbia, she was awarded the “William Goldman screenwriting fellowship” and the “Adrienne Shelly Award for Best Female Director.”
Marie Howe is the author of Magdalene, which was long-listed for the National Book Award; The Kingdom of Ordinary Time, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; What the Living Do, and The Good Thief, which was selected by Margaret Atwood for the 1987 National Poetry Series. She is co-editor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and The Partisan Review, among others.