Classic Poetry from Passions in Poetry
Emily Dickinson 1830 - 1886
American poet. Began writing poetry, according to her own declaration, in the winter of 1861-62. All but a handful of her poems were unpublished in her lifetime. She left over a thousand manuscripts which were gradually collected and published by her sister Lavinia. The three volumes brought out between 1891 and 1896 revealed poems of a deeply personal and spiritual nature and showed startling originality. After this, further collections of her work emerged, as The Single Hound (1914), and Bolts of Melody (1945). Her letters and selected commentaries on her life and work were edited by Thomas H.Johnson and published in 1958.
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, the daughter of a lawyer. She was educated at Amherst Academy (1834-47) and Mount Holyoake (1847-8). In her early years she appears to have been a bright and sociable young scholar, but in her twenties she began to withdraw from the outside world. By her forties she had become a complete recluse, refusing to leave her house and shunning all contact with strangers. A mystic by inclination, she wrote much in secret, producing over two thousand poems, only seven of which are known to have been published in her lifetime.
Her personal life remains something of a mystery although there is the possibility that her seclusion might have been prompted by a failed love affair. Her work certainly reflects a deep inner struggle spanning many years and her verse is full of powerful allusions to storms, volcanic eruptions and imprisonment.