Emily Dickinson


Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was an American poet known for her reclusive lifestyle and innovative, often enigmatic poetry. Her work is characterized by its unconventional punctuation and capitalization, as well as its themes of death, immortality, and nature. Dickinson is now considered one of the most important figures in American literature.

Early Life: Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a prominent family. She attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for one year but left due to illness. Dickinson spent most of her life at the family home, the Homestead, in Amherst, living a reclusive life largely devoted to writing poetry.

Career: Though Dickinson wrote nearly 1,800 poems, fewer than a dozen were published during her lifetime, often heavily edited to fit conventional norms of the time. After her death, her sister Lavinia discovered her cache of poems and worked to get them published. The first volume of her poetry was published in 1890, four years after her death.

Major Works: Dickinson’s poems are known for their brevity, emotional intensity, and unusual use of form and syntax. Some of her most famous poems include “Because I could not stop for Death,” “I’m Nobody! Who are you?” and “Hope is the thing with feathers.” Her poetry delves deeply into themes of life and death, love, nature, and the human condition.

Legacy: Emily Dickinson’s work has had a lasting impact on American poetry and literature. Her innovative style and exploration of complex themes have inspired countless poets and writers. Dickinson’s life and work continue to be the subject of extensive scholarly study and public fascination.


Major Poems:

  • “Because I could not stop for Death”
  • “I’m Nobody! Who are you?”
  • “Hope is the thing with feathers”
  • “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain”
  • “A Bird, came down the Walk”
  • “There’s a certain Slant of light”
  • “My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun”


  • The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition
  • Final Harvest: Emily Dickinson’s Poems
  • The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson


  • The Letters of Emily Dickinson

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