Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was an American poet. Born at the Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts on December 10, 1830 into a prominent, but not opulent faily. she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After being schooled at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before retiring to her family's house, the Homestead. Throughout her adult life she rarely traveled outside of Amherst or very far from home. Thought of as an eccentric by the locals, she became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence.
Dickinson was a prolific private poet, choosing to publish fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems. The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often utilize slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Her poems also tend to deal with themes of death and immortality, two subjects which infused her letters to friends.
Although most of her acquaintances were probably aware of Dickinson's writing, it was not until after her death in 1886 — when Lavinia, Emily's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems—that the breadth of Dickinson's work became apparent. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, both of whom heavily edited the content. A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955 when The Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by scholar Thomas H. Johnson. Despite unfavorable reviews and skepticism of her literary prowess during the late 19th and early 20th century, critics now consider Dickinson to be a major American poet.
Poems By Emily Dickinson
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Quotes By Emily Dickinson
"A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day."
"A wounded deer leaps the highest."
"After great pain, a formal feeling comes. The Nerves sit ceremonious, like tombs."
"Anger as soon as fed is dead - 'Tis starving makes it fat."
"Beauty is not caused. It is."
"Behavior is what a man does, not what he thinks, feels, or believes."
"Celebrity is the chastisement of merit and the punishment of talent."
"Drab Habitation of Whom? Tabernacle or Tomb - or Dome of Worm - or Porch of Gnome - or some Elf's Catacomb?"
"Fame is a fickle food upon a shifting plate."
"Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough."
"Finite to fail, but infinite to venture."
"For Love is Immortality."
"Forever is composed of nows."
"Fortune befriends the bold."
"He ate and drank the precious Words, his Spirit grew robust; He knew no more that he was poor, nor that his frame was Dust."
"His Labor is a Chant - his Idleness - a Tune - oh, for a Bee's experience of Clovers, and of Noon!"
"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all."
"How dreary - to be - somebody! How public - like a frog - to tell your name - the livelong June - to an admiring bog!"
"How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!"
"I argue thee that love is life. And life hath immortality."
"I do not like the man who squanders life for fame; give me the man who living makes a name."
"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain."
"If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."
"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry."
"Is wholesome even for the King."
"It is better to be the hammer than the anvil."
"Luck is not chance, it is toil. Fortune is expensive smile is earned."
"Luck is not chance, it's toil; fortune's expensive smile is earned."
"Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door."
"Old age comes on suddenly, and not gradually as is thought."
"People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles."
"Remember if you marry for beauty, thou bindest thyself all thy life for that which perchance, will neither last nor please thee one year: and when thou hast it, it will be to thee of no price at all."
"Some keep the Sabbath going to Church I keep it staying at Home With a Bobolink for a Chorister And an Orchard for a Dome."
"Success is counted sweetest by those who never succeed."
"Surgeons must be very careful. When they take the knife!, underneath their fine incisions, stirs the Culprit - Life!"
"Tell the truth, but tell it slant."
"The possible's slow fuse is lit, by the Imagination."
"The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience."
"There is no Frigate like a book to take us lands away nor any coursers like a page of prancing Poetry."
"They might not need me; but they might. I'll let my head be just in sight; a smile as small as mine might be precisely their necessity."
"They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse."
"'Tis so much joy! 'Tis so much joy! If I should fail, what poverty! And yet, as poor as I Have ventured all upon a throw; Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so this side the victory!"
"To fight aloud is very brave, but gallanter, I know, who charge within the bosom, the Cavalry of Woe."
"To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else."
"To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few."
"To whom the mornings are like nights, What must the midnights be!"
"Truth is so rare that it is delightful to tell it."
"Whenever a thing is done for the first time, it releases a little demon."
"Where thou art, that is home."
"Without suspecting our abode until we drive away."