Emily Dickinson, American Pote

Beautiful Poems and Deep Thoughts

Emily Dickinson, renowned as one of America’s greatest poets, was born in Amherst, MA. Her upbringing was strict, in keeping with her Puritan heritage, with emphasis on doing what was right and proper. As a child, Emily was bright and inquisitive, known in school for her “rhyming stories”. As a young woman, she attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary but her poor health kept her from graduating with her class.

After returning home she adopted a simple and austere life. She lived and wrote in self-imposed solitude during the second half of the 19th century.  Her poetry consists of “short, compact phrases” which explore ideas of life and death using comparative imagery to describe abstract ideas and concepts. Dickinson’s poetry contains contrast and conflict, every bright image is matched by doubt or uncertainty and is marked by a powerful command of language. Although her work is not free of criticism, her poems are widely considered to have “an undeniable capacity to move and provoke,” which helps to explain her lasting popularity and success.

Due to her reclusive lifestyle, she did not publish poetry in her own lifetime. Emily’s sister, Vinnie, found her poems and in 1893 they were published to great acclaim. The following is a short selection from one of her verses:

I’ll tell you how the Sun rose –

A Ribbon at a time –

The steeples swam in Amethyst

The news, like Squirrels, ran –

The Hills untied her Bonnets –

The Bobolinks – begun –

Then I said softly to myself –

“That must have been the Sun”!

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