Emily Dickinson

Learn about the mysterious poet whose original works are breathtakingly original and beautiful.

Emily Dickinson, half length portrait (1846/1847)Original Source: Amherst College Archives & Special Collections

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.

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, page 39 (1924) by Emily DickinsonOriginal Source: Library of Congress

“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)

Credits: Story

Thank you to the Houghton Library at Harvard University for the use of their image of Dickinson's Herbarium.
View the full Herbarium here

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps