Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Dickinson wrote about love, faith, mortality, nature’s sparse beauty, and the virtues of domestic life. Her unusual syntax and punctuation shattered all the rules of poetry.
Many writers consider Dickinson and Whitman to have created the first uniquely American poetry.
Home in Amherst, Massachusetts
Emily Dickinson is one of the wonderful mysteries of American literature. She rarely left the house or ventured from her hometown. Yet she maintained close friendships and followed social issues of the day. Upon her death, her sister discovered 40 volumes filled with 1,800 poems.
Emily Dickinson Herbarium Page 36 (1839/1846) by Emily DickinsonOriginal Source: Houghton Library, Harvard University
As a student, Dickinson compiled a book of 400 pressed flowers, each identified by name. As an adult, she was a passionate gardener who tended a beautiful greenhouse and garden.
Dickinson’s poetry reflects her love of botany. She references plants in her poems nearly 600 times.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without words,
And never stops at all,
-Emily Dickinson, “Hope is the things with feathers,” (1891)
Thank you to the Houghton Library at Harvard University for the use of their image of Dickinson's Herbarium.
View the full Herbarium here