Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was a prolific American poet whose poems weren’t published during her lifetime. She grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts where she gained notoriety among her townspeople as an eccentric recluse. As a child, Dickinson studied at Amherst Academy along with her two older siblings and grew up Puritan.
Dickinson was haunted by a “deepening menace” of death from a young age and was traumatized by the death of her loved ones. She did not produce work to publish, make money or gain fame; she cared only to share her thoughts and writings with those close to her.
Despite living a rather secluded life, her poetry reveals a deep understanding of love, loneliness, the natural world, and human nature in all its glory and sadness. Dickinson was inspired academically by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Reverend Charles Wadsworth, John Keats and Walt Whitman.
Death & Legacy
After her death in 1886, around 1,800 poems were discovered by her younger sister Lavinia, a lifelong companion of Emily’s who lived a similar lifestyle. The poems were edited and published to fit the conventional rules of the era. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that Dickinson was given her due as a great poet. Today, it’s hard to argue that she is also one of the most beloved.
More about Emily Dickinson on this site
- Selected Poems and Letters
- Three Series, Complete
- I’m Nobody Who Are You
- Poems of Emily Dickinson
- Essential Dickinson
- Emily Dickinson on Wikipedia
- Emily Dickinson on Poets.org
- Emily Dickinson Online
- Dickinson Electronic Archives
- Emily Dickinson page on Amazon
- Reader discussion of works by or about Emily Dickinson on Goodreads
- Thomas H. Johnson’s published collection of The Poems of Emily Dickinson in 1955 (complete and unedited)
Articles, News, Etc.
- Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Writings: ‘Gorgeous’ Poetry In 3-D
- Emily Dickinson’s Reputation Totally Shifted in 1955
- Scraps of Perfections: A new collection of Emily Dickinson’s work
- Emily Dickinson’s Poems Reflect Specter of Slavery
- The Fascinating, Handwritten Poems of Famous Authors
- In Emily Dickinson’s Own Hand
- How Emily Dickinson Wrote Her Best Poems
Visit Emily Dickinson’s birthplace and home
- The Emily Dickinson Museum – Amherst, MA
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
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