timeline

born 1830

Emily Dickinson's friends and family knew she wrote, but they didn't know much or how well until her sister uncovered a mountain manuscripts ~ including 1,789 poems ~ after her death. The rest of us didn't fully catch on to her genius for several more decades, but today, the private Amherst intellectual is counted as one of the defining authors of US literature + one of the world's best-loved poets.

Emily was a avid student who received a Classical education, but she broke all the established rules when in came to her craft. Her idiosyncratic style has a grammar and punctuation that's all it's own. It's an artistic singularity that has kept her voice fresh into the 21st century.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Emily Dickinson (13)

"The older I grow the more do I love spring and spring flowers. Is it so with you?"

The Letters of Emily Dickinson | may 1848

"My friends are my 'estate.'"

letter 193 | august 1858

"The Soul should always stand ajar, That if the heaven inquire, He will not be obliged to wait, Or shy of troubling her."

CXXI | 1855 - 1865

"A word is dead, when it is said Some say— I say it just begins to live That day."

LXXXIX | 1855 - 1865

"Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all."

XXXII | 1855 - 1865

"I dwell in Possibility."

XXVII | 1855 - 1865

"If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain."

VI | 1855 - 1865

"Love is anterior to life, posterior to death, initial of creation, and the exponent of breath."

III Love | 1855 - 1865

"Forever is composed of nows."

XXII | 1855 - 1865

"There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry –"

1286 | 1855 - 1865

"A little madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King."

XXXVIII | 1855 - 1865

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?"

to Thomas Wentworth Higginson | circa 1870

"How strange that Nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!"

To Mrs. J.S. Cooper | 1881
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curated with care by Pauline Weger