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Common Reassemble Fall 2022



This common reassemble—Emily Dashes—offers a chance to interact with and reinterpret the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Participants will spend time peering into the work of the poet, then engage with words in the spirit of play, reworking her canonical language using new media and visual expression to say something entirely new. After each stunning, idiosyncratic, vibrant, haunting or hilarious page is made, we will gather them into a new collection of poetry and art that could only have been made by our community.

Collectively, the Smith community will explore—and reshape—Emily Dickinson’s poetry.


A common reassemble reenvisions the words and ideas of an iconic work.


Get your pages of Emily Dickinson’s poetry and the materials to create your reassemble at the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center and the Design Thinking Initiative. Then scribble, color, erase, draw, tint, shade, collage, glue, diagram. If you can dream it, we want to see it.


The deadline to submit pages is June 1.

The Process

The Boutelle-Day Poetry Center and the Design Thinking Initiative will have stations with pages from Emily Dickinson’s poetry and a variety of materials available for creating your own responses. We plan to display them outside of the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center in Wright Hall (and occasionally feature them on Instagram), and when everything is done, put the pages back together to create a whole new document.

This common reassemble is open to the Smith community and visitors to the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center.


  • Choose one side of the page to hold your primary design.
  • By participating in this project, participants agree to allow their work to be posted on social media, and assembled into an object that will be housed in the Mortimer Rare Books collection at the library.
  • If you wish to be credited, please write your name legibly on the back. (If you want us to tag you on instagram, please include your IG handle!)
  • What you do to alter the text is up to you! Here are some strategies to get you thinking:
    Cover words or blank space with whiteout pen or tape, marker, colored pencil, cut/torn paper, washi tape, images from books or magazines, string, embroidery, photos or film negatives, buttons, beads, dried & sealed plant material.
  • Please take no more than 2 pages; we want to have enough for everyone!
  • Please put completed pages on the paper tray or windowsill in the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center so we can collect them.



Spring 2022

Last spring, the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center, in collaboration with the Design Thinking Initiative, launched CTRL + WALT + DELETE, our inaugural Common Reassemble project, which invited students, staff, faculty, alums, and members of the wider community to engage with pages from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass using a variety of artistic and poetic techniques. The thrilling pages you made offered fragments of Whitman surrounded by gorgeous drawings, swirls of color, magazine clippings, beads, photographs, stickers, and even repurposed wasp nests. You turned pages of poetry into canvases, and made Whitman’s words and barbaric yawps become something utterly new.