Emily (Elizabeth) Dickinson

Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson
Born: 10-12-1830, Amherst (Massachusetts, US)
Died: 15-05-1886, Amherst (Massachusetts, US)

She is considered as one of the most legendary American poets of all time. Her work is read by millions. Many were inspired to write like her and about her. She is Emily Dickinson: the poetess who never saw the day, her work got published.

Without having anything to do with this, she can be considered as one of the founders of Modernism in poetry, together with Walt Whitman.

Dickinson was born as a daughter of a wealthy family living in Amherst. She never got married and spend most of her life in her family house. For a long time, this was considered as part of a mental disorder known as Agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder. Closer scientific research of her collection of written words show a different side of the story. She chose this lifestyle, based on free will.

The fact that Dickinson spend most of her years in the family house, did mean she wasn’t interested in the rest of the world. She read poetry of other great minds and started writing her own poetry. The poetry differs from that of poets of her time. Her work wasn’t published until she died, except for seven poems. These were published anonymously.

After her death, it was her sister who made sure that her legacy was spread. Unfortunately, the poems that were published after her death were edited. It wasn’t until 1955 before the original versions were published.

The decision to lead a life of seclusion was one she took, was based on the death of the principal of The Amherst Academy, Leonard Humphrey. She was very much affected by his death. She never gave up writing and kept an active correspondence with relatives and friends. She wrote until the year she died. Her writings would have to be burned, after she died. Her sister, Lavinia, did not comply with this wish and made sure that the poems were published (1890).

Style

Emily Dickinson did things, that were unconventional when it comes to her writings. She used capitalization, styles and forms that were different from any other poetry people used to read.

She used the traditional ballad ABCB, making the poems of Dickinson into great songs. But, she is most remembered for her dark poetry. Poetry that touches the soul and gives an inside look of her who was in seclusion for most of her life. This seclusion and the fact that most of her work was published after her death, gives her a kind of mythical status.

List of poems published on this website

Articles about Emily Dickinson

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