Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886), a prolific American poet, rarely left her home or had contact with many people, but when she did, it gave her immense motivation for her writing. In her earlier years she was more apt to leave her home and go to school and visit with friends and later in life, becoming sick and concerned for her and her familiy’s well being, stayed close to home. Her poems are ones of sadness and loneliness, but sometimes give a glimpse of hope for happiness.

She was a writer that did not produce work in order to publish, to make money and gain fame; she cared only to share her thoughts and writings with those close to her. Publishers, because of her unconventional way of writing and her refusal to acknowledge basic literary rules, often edited Dickinson’s poems, impacting their originality and integrity.

Although she lived mostly in isolation, Dickinson was able to capture the human spirit in such great ways in her prose. Being surrounded by religion and strict rules is possibly something that caused her to remain so hidden, not being social as a fear of being ostracized because of her unwillingness to accept these restrictions. After her death, about 1,800 poems were discovered by her family, and against her wish of having them burned, they were instead heavily edited and published.

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Emily Dickinson Quotes

Emily Dickinson“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?” (Selected Letters)

“Forever is composed of nows.”

“A wounded dear leaps the highest.”

“A word is dead when it’s been said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.” (Completed Poems, 1988)

“PHOSPHORESCENCE. Now there’s a word to lift your hat to…to find that phosphorescence, that light within, that’s the genius behind poetry.”

“Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotion know what it means to want to escape from these.”

“But a Book is only the Heart’s Portrait- every Page a Pulse.”

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all” (The Completed Poems, 1988) 

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”

“Where thou art, that is home.”

“Love is like life merely longer.”

“Dwell in possibility.”

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without words and never stops at all.”


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