Poet Spotlight: Emily Dickinson

If you’ve been reading the blog, you’ve seen that April is National Poetry Month. Here is one of the many Poet Spotlights to come!

This Week’s Spotlight: Emily Dickinson 

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On December 10, 1830, Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. She went to school at Amherst Academy, which her grandfather, Samuel Dickinson, founded. She excelled in her studies at Amherst, then attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for a year. Her sudden departure from the academy remains a mystery, although several theories blame her fragile emotional state, which is reflected in her later poetry.

Dickinson was secluded after that. Many believe that she was sequestered because she suffered from agoraphobia, depression, and/or anxiety while others believe it was due to her mother’s illness. Regardless, this seclusion led to Dickinson’s most productive time as

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

a poet, writing small bundles of verse known as fascicles. During this time, her family knew nothing of her talent.

Most of Dickinson’s work was published after her death in 1886 when her bundles of writing were discovered, and some of it has been modified from the originals and her unusual use of syntax and form. However, we can still enjoy the steady rhythm and mystery hidden within her writing.

Classics like “Why Do I Love You, Sir” and “Hope is the Thing with Feathers” can be found in her poetry collection.

Interested in reading some of her poetry? Here’s her poem titled, “A Book,” to get you started:

“There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!”

What are some of your favorite Dickinson poems? Let us know in the comments!