Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

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9780517362426: Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson
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Emily Dickinson was a prolific writer and yet, with the exception of four poems in a limited regional volume, her poems were never published during her lifetime. It was indeed fortunate that her sister discovered the poems—all loosely bound in bundles—shortly after Dickinson died.
Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson is the complete collection of the first three volumes of poetry published posthumously in 1890, 1891, and 1896 by editors Mary Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. The volumes were all received with high acclaim and contain some of her best-known poems. It was in the twentieth century, however, that Dickinson was finally recognized as one of the great poets and, without dispute, the most popular.
The name Emily Dickinson is a legend now, but she never had the opportunity to taste the wine of success and fame in her lifetime. In fact, if there was any legendary status she received in her life, it was not for poetry but for the way she lived her life. She received local notoriety in her native town of Amherst, Massachusetts, as an eccentric recluse who, with few exceptions, would never set foot outside her house. Yet, as her poetry will attest, she had a keen insight of life, love, nature, and death and seemed to be content with her station in life.
Reading through the poems in Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, you will see that she was indeed a woman of independence and spirit, a poet that lives today in our hearts and minds.

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From Rachel Wetzsteon’s introduction to The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson, writing to the editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson in July 1862, reported that she had no portrait,” but offered the following description in place of one: Small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves Would this do just as well?” (Selected Letters, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, p. 175; see For Further Reading”). Despite Dickinson’s claim, we do possess one photograph of her a daguerreotype taken in 1847 or 1848, when she was in her late teens. The image certainly confirms her self-portrait: Her frame is tiny; her shiny hair does indeed sit boldly atop her head; and her dark eyes really do glisten like liquor at the bottom of a glass.

The photograph also suggests many of the rich puzzles and paradoxes that have informed our view of Dickinson since the last decade of the nineteenth century, when readers and critics began to read, study, and obsess over her poems. Dickinson’s body, with its delicate hands and slender torso, may resemble the fragile form of someone too weak to venture far from home; but her huge moist eyes stare at us with the wisdom, depth, and longing of a woman who has traveled around the world and come back with stories, not all of them fit for mixed company. She demurely clutches a bouquet of flowers, and a book rests primly at her side; but her full, sensuous lips reveal a person whose thoughts may not always tend toward such tidy subjects as flowers and books. We look away from the photograph intrigued and stirred: What’s going on in her mind? How could this slight figure be the author of some of the most passionate love poems, the most searing descriptions of loss, the most haunting religious lyrics ever written?

            Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1830, the middle child of Edward and Emily Norcross Dickinson; her brother, Austin, was born in 1829 and her sister, Lavinia, in 1833. Her father, a lawyer, served as treasurer of Amherst College (her grandfather was a co-founder of the college), and also occupied important positions on the General Court of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts State Senate, and the United States House of Representatives. His Heart,” Dickinson wrote in a letter, was pure and terrible and I think no other like it exists” (Letters, p. 223). He was strictly religious (something she would later rebel against), leading the family prayers every day and often censoring her reading; but he also ensured that Dickinson grew up in a household surrounded by books and heated intellectual debates. Her mother was a more shadowy presence; Dickinson wrote that she does not care for thought” (Letters, p. 173); more harshly, she claimed, I never had a mother. I suppose a mother is one to whom you hurry when you are troubled” (Letters, vol. 2, p. 475). Even so, the Dickinsons remained an extremely close-knit family; after her brother, Austin, married, he and his wife settled right next door.

            Dickinson attended the coeducational Amherst Academy from the ages of ten to seventeen, and then went on to the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary (now Mount Holyoke College) in nearby South Hadley. She blossomed there into a social and spirited young woman. The most significant event of her stay occurred at a fundamentalist Calvinist revival meeting, when she was asked to stand and declare herself a Christian and refused. After one year at Mount Holyoke she returned in 1948 to Amherst, where she remained, apart from brief trips to Boston, Cambridge, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., for the rest of her life.

            At school and at home, Dickinson received an excellent education. At the Amherst Academy alone she studied the arts, English literature, rhetoric, philosophy, Latin, French, German, history, geography, classics, and the Bible; she also received a firm grounding in the sciences, mathematics, geology, botany, natural history, physiology, and astronomy. At home the Dickinsons’ large and varied library included books by Hawthorne, Emerson, Thoreau, Longfellow, Shakespeare, Keats, the Brownings, the Brontës, and George Eliot, along with Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language which for Dickinson would prove one of the most important books of all and a healthy dose of newspapers and romance novels.

            During her early twenties, Dickinson began to dress in white, to leave her house only on rare occasions, and to restrict the circle of her acquaintances until it numbered just a few people. Often speaking to visitors through a screen or from an adjoining room, she soon developed a reputation as a town eccentric. The young Mabel Loomis Todd, having recently moved to Amherst with her husband, David, remarked in a letter to her parents about a strange resident:


I must tell you about the character of Amherst. It is a lady whom all the people call the Myth. She is a sister of Mr. Dickinson, & seems to be the climax of all the family oddity. She has not been outside her house in fifteen years, except once to see a new church, when she crept out at night, & viewed it by moonlight. No one who calls upon her mother & sister ever sees her, but she allows little children once in a great while, & one at a time, to come in, when she gives them cake or candy, or some nicety, for she is very fond of little ones. But more often she lets down the sweetmeat by a string, out of a window, to them. She dresses wholly in white, & her mind is said to be perfectly wonderful. She writes finely, but no one ever sees her. Her sister . . . invited me to come & sing to her mother sometime. . . . People tell me the myth will hear every note she will be near, but unseen. . . . Isn’t that like a book? So interesting (Farr, Emily Dickinson: A Collection of Critical Essays, p. 20).


One can hardly blame Todd for being fascinated by such an unusual character.” But unfortunately, the myth” she takes such pleasure in describing influenced our later notions of Dickinson much too heavily. Despite her seclusion, a large number of prominent figures came and went through her house. She also developed deep, though largely epistolary, friendships with several people: the clergyman Charles Wadsworth, whom she met in Philadelphia and described as her dearest earthly friend”; Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield Republican; and Judge Otis Phillips Lord of Salem, Massachusetts.


Adrift! A Little Boat Adrift!
Adventure Most Unto Itself
Ah, Teneriffe
All Cirumstances Are The Frame
All I May, If Small
All Overgrown By Cunning Moss
Ambition Cannot Find Him
Angel Bouquets
Apparently With No Surprise
Arcturus Is His Other Name
Are Friends Delight Or Pain?
As By The Dead We Love To Sit
As Children Bid The Guest Good-night
As Far From Pity As Complaint
As If Some Little Arctic Flower
As Imperceptibly As Grief
Ashes Denote That Fire Was
At Half-past Three A Single Bird
At Last To Be Identified!
At Length
The Bat
The Battlefield
Beauty Crowds Me Till I Die
The Bee
The Bee Is Not Afraid Of Me
Before I Got My Eye Put Out
Before The Ice Is In The Pools
Besides The Autumn Poets Sing
The Bible Is An Antique Volume
Blazing In Gold
Bless God, He Went As Soldiers
Bloom Upon The Mountain, Stated
The Bluebird
The Blunder Is To Estimate
The Body Grows Outside [or, Without]
The Bone That Has No Marrow
A Book
The Book Of Martyrs
The Brain - Is Wider Than The Sky
The Brain, Within Its Groove
Bring Me The Sunset In A Cup
The Butterfly Obtains
The Butteryfly's Assumption-grown
By The Sea
Called Back
Candor, My Tepid Friend
A Cap Of Lead Across The Sky
A Cemetery
The Chariot
A Charm Invests A Face
The Clouds Their Backs Together Laid
Come Slowly, Eden!
The Contract
Could I But Ride Indefinite
Could Mortal Lip Divine
A Country Burial
Crisis Is Sweet And, Set Of Heart
The Daisy Follows Soft The Sun
Dare You See A Soul At The White Heat?
Day's Parlor
Dear March, Come In!
Death Is Like The Insect
A Death-blow Is A Life-blow To Some
A Deed Knocks First At Thought
Delight Becomes Pictorial
Despair And Fear
The Devil, Had He Fidelity
A Dew Sufficed Itself
A Dialogue
Did The Harebell Loose Her Girdle
Distance Is Not The Realm Of Fox
The Distance That The Dead Have Gone
Doubt Me, My Dim Companion!
Down Time's Quaint Stream
Drab Habitation Of Whom?
Dropped Into The
Drowning Is Not So Pitiful
Dust Is The Only Secret
The Duties Of The Wind Are Few
The Dying Need But Little, Dear
Each That We Lose Takes Part Of Us
The Eclat Of Death
Eden Is That Old-fashioned House
Elijah's Wagon Knew No Thrill
Essential Oils Are Wrung
Evening (1)
Evening (2)
Except The Heaven Had Come So Near
Except The Smaller Size, No Lives Are Round
Except To Heaven, She Is Nought
Exhilaration Is The Breeze
Experiment To Me
A Face Devoid Of Love Or Grace
The Face We Choose To Miss
'faith' Is A Fine Invention
Fame Is A Fickle Food
Far From Love The Heavenly Father
The Farthest Thunder That I Heard
Fate Slew Him, But He Did Not Drop
Father, I Bring Thee Not Myself
The Feet Of People Walking Home
Few Get Enough, - Enough Is One
Finite To Fail, But Infinite To Venture
The First Lesson
The Fold
Follow Wise Orion
For Death, - Or Rather
Forbidden Fruit: 1
Forbidden Fruit: 2
Forever Cherished [or, Honored] Be The Tree
The Forgotten Grave
Found Wanting
Frequently The Woods Are Pink
Fringed Gentian
From All The Jails The Boys And Girls
From Cocoon Forth A Butterfly
From Us She Wandered Now A Year
Further In Summer Than The Birds
The Future Never Spoke
The Gentian Weaves Her Fringes
Give Little Anguish
Given In Marriage Unto Thee
The Gleam Of An Heroic Act
Glee - The Great Storm Is Over
Glory Is That Bright Tragic Thing
Glowing Is Her Bonnet
The Goal
God's Residence
Going To Heaven!
Good Night! Which Put The Candle Out?
The Grass
The Grave My Little Cottage Is
Great Streets Of Silence Led Away
Had This One Day Not Been
Have You Got A Brook In Your Little Heart?
He Preached Upon 'breadth' Till It Argued Him Narrow
He Put The Belt Around My Life
He Touched Me, So I Live To Know
The Healed Heart Shows Its Shallow Star
The Heart Asks Pleasure First
Heart Not So Heavy As Mine
Heart, We Will Forget Him
'heavenly Father' - Take To Thee
The Hemlock
Her 'last Poems'
Her Grace Is All She Has
High From The Earth I Heard A Bird
The Hills Erect Their Purple Heads
His Bill An Auger Is
His Cheek Is His Biographer
His Mind, Of Man A Secret Makes
Hope (1)
Hope (2)
How Dare The Robins Sing
How Destitute Is He
How Many Times These Low Feet Staggered
How Still The Bells In Steeples Stand
How The Old Mountains Drip With Sunset
I Bet That Every Wind That Blew, With Nature In Chagrin
I Breathed Enough To Learn [or, Take] The Trick
I Bring An Unaccustomed Wine
I Can Wade Grief
I Can't Tell You, But You Feel It
I Cannot Live With You
I Did Not Reach Thee
I Envy The Seas Whereon He Rides
I Felt A Funeral In My Brain
I Fit For Them
I Gained It So
I Had A Daily Bliss
I Had A Guinea Golden
I Had No Cause To Be Awake
I Had No Time To Hate
I Have A King Who Does Not Speak
I Have No Life But This
I Hide Myself With My Flower
I Know A Place Where Summer Strives
I Know That He Exists
I Like A Look Of Agony
I Live With Him, I See His Face
I Lived On Dread; To Those Who Know
I Lost A World The Other Day
I Meant To Find Her When I Came
I Meant To Have But Modest Needs
I Never Lost As Much But Twice
I Never Told The Buried Gold
I Noticed People Disappeared
I Read My Sentence Steadily
I Reason, Earth Is Short
I See Thee Better In The Dark
I Send Two Sunsets
I Shall Know Why, When Time Is Over
I Should Have Been Too Glad, I See
I Should Not Dare To Leave My Friend
I Showed Her [or, He Showed Me] Heights [i] She Never Saw
I Sing To Use The Waiting
I Think Just How My Shape Will Rise
I Think That The Root Of The Wind Is Water
I Took My Power In My Hand
I Watched Her Face To See Which Way
I Went To Heaven
I Went To Thank Her
I Wonder If The Sepulchre
I Worked For Chaff, And Earning Wheat
I'm 'wife' - I've Finished That
I'm Ceded - I've Stopped Being Theirs
I'm Nobody! Who Are You
I'm Thinking Of That Other Morn
I've Got An Arrow Here
I've Seen A Dying Eye
If Anybody's Friend Be Dead
If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking
If I Could Tell How Glad I Was
If I May Have It When It's Dead
If I Should Die
If I Shouldn't Be Alive
If Pain For Peace Prepares
If The Foolish Call Them 'flowers'
If What We Could Were What We Would
If You Were Coming In The Fall
Immortal Is An Ample Word
Immured In Heaven! What A Cell!
In A Library
In Lands I Never Saw, They Say
In Shadow
In The Garden (1)
In The Garden (2)
In Winter, In My Room
The Incidents Of Love
Indian Summer
The Inundation Of The Spring
Is Bliss, Then, Such Abyss
Is Heaven A Physician
It Can't Be Summer, -- That Got Through
It Makes No Difference Abroad
It Might Be Easier [or, Lonlier]
It Sounded As If The Streets Were Running
It Tossed And Tossed
It Was Not Death, For I Stood Up
It Was Too Late For Man
It's All I Have To Bring To-day
It's Such A Little Thing To Weep
The Jay
The Journey
Just So, Jesus Raps - He Does Not Weary
The Largest Fire Ever Known
The Last Night That She Lived
Lay This Laurel On The One
The Leaves, Like Women, Interchange
Let Me Not Mar That Perfect Dream
The Letter
Life, And Death, And Giants
A Light Exists In Spring
Lightly Stepped A Yellow Star
Like Brooms Of Steel
Like Men And Women Shadows Walk
Like Mighty Footlights Burned The Red
Like Some Old-fashioned Miracle
A Little Madness In The Spring
A Little Over [or, East Of] Jordan
A Little Overflowing Word
A Little Road Not Made Of Man
The Lonely House
The Long Sigh Of The Frog
The Look Of Thee, What Is It Like?
The Lost Jewel
The Lost Thought
Love Is Anterior To Life
Love Reckons By Itself Alone
The Lovers
Low At My Problem Bending
The Luxury To Apprehend
March Is The Month Of Expectation
The Martyrs
The Master
Me! Come! My Dazzled Face
Mine By The Right Of The White Election
Mine Enemy Is Growing Old
The Missing All Prevented Me
The Moon
The Moon Is Distant From The Sea
The Moon Upon Her Fluent Route
Morning Is The Place For Dew
'morning' Means 'milking' To The Farmer
Morns Are Like These We Parted
Mother Nature
The Mountain Sat Upon The Plain
Much Madness Is Divinest Sense
A Murmur In The Trees To Note
The Murmuring Of Bees, Has Ceased
The Mushroom Is The Elf Of Plants
Musicians Wrestle Everywhere
My Cocoon Tightens - Colors Tease
My Country Need Not Change Her Gown
My Friend Must Be A Bird
My Nosegays Are For Captives
My River Runs To Thee
My Wheel Is In The Dark
My Worthiness Is All My Doubt
The Mystery Of Pain
Nature Is What We See
Nature Rarer Uses Yellow
The Nearest Dream Recedes, Unrealized
Needless Fear
The Night Was Wide, And Furnished Scant
No Autumn's Intercepting Chill
No Life Can Pompless Pass Away
No Matter Where The Saints Abide
No Other Can Reduce
No Rack Can Torture Me
No Romance Sold Unto
Not Any Higher Stands The Grave
Not Any Sunny Tone
Not Knowing When The Dawn Will Come
Not One By Heaven Defrauded Stay
Not When We Know
Not With A Club The Heart Is Broken
Of Death The Sharpest Function
Of So Divine A Loss
Of This Is Day Composed
Of Tolling Bell I Ask The Cause?
Of Tribulation These Are They
On My Volcano Grows The Grass
On Such A Night, Or Such A Night
On The Bleakness Of My Lot
On This Long Storm The Rainbow Rose
One Blessing Had I Than The Rest
One Day Is There Of The Series
One Dignity Delays For All
One Of The Ones That Midas Touched
One Sister
The One That Could Repeat The Summer Day
The Ones That Disappeared Are Back
The Only Ghost I Ever Saw
Our Lives Are Swiss
The Overtakelessness Of Those
Papa Above
The Past
The Pedigree Of Honey (diff. Vers.)
Perception Of An Object Costs
Perhaps You'd Like To Buy A Flower?
Peril As A Possession
Pigmy [or, Pygmy] Seraphs - Gone Astray
Pink, Small, And Punctual
Poor Little Heart!
A Poor Torn Heart, A Tattered Heart
Portraits Are To Daily Faces
Prayer Is The Little Implement
Precious Words
A Prompt, Executive Bird Is The Jay
The Props Assist The House
Proud Of My Broken Heart Since Thou Didst Break It
The Railway Train
The Rat
'remember Me,' Implored The Thief
Remembrance Has A Rear And Front
Remorse Is Memory Awake
The Reticent Volcano Keeps
Reverse Cannot Befall That Fine Prosperity
The Right To Perish Might Be Thought
The Robin
A Route Of Evanescence
Safe Despair It Is That Raves
Safe In Their Alabaster Chambers
The Sea
The Sea Of Sunset
The Sea Said 'come' To The Brook
The Secret (1)
A Sepal, Petal, And A Thorn
Setting Sail
A Shady Friend For Torrid Days
She Died At Play
She Laid Her Docile Cresent Down
She Slept Beneath A Tree
She Went As Quiet As The Dew
The Show
A Sickness Of This World It Most Occasions
The Skies Can't Keep Their Secret!
Sleep Is Supposed To Be
A Sloop Of Amber Slips Away
A Snake
The Snake
The Snow
So Bashful When I Spied Her
So Gay A Flower Bereaved The Mind
So Proud She Was To Die
So Set Its Sun In Thee
So, From The Mould
Softened By Time's Consummate Plush
A Solemn Thing It Was, I Said
Some Days Retired From The Rest
Some Keep The Sabbath Going To Church
Some Rainbow Coming From The Fair!
Some Things That Fly There Be
Some, Too Fragile For Winter Winds
A Something In A Summer's Day
The Soul Should Always Stand Ajar
The Soul That Hath A Guest
The Soul Unto Itself
The Soul's Storm
The Soul's Superior Instants
Soul, Wilt Thou Toss Again?
South Winds Jostle Them
Sown In Dishonor?
Speech Is A Symptom Of Affection
The Spider As An Artist
A Spider Sewed At Night
Split The Lark And You'll Find The Music
The Springtime's Pallid Landscape
The Stars Are Old, That Stood For Me
Step Lightly On This Narrow Spot!
The Stimulus Beyond The Grave
The Storm
The Suburbs Of A Secret
Summer Begins To Have The Look
Summer For Thee Grant I May Be
Summer Shower
The Sun Just Touched The Morning
The Sun Kept Setting - Setting - Still
Sunset And Sunrise
Superfluous Were The Sun
Surgeons Must Be Very Careful
Sweet Hours Have Perished Here
The Sweets Of Pillage Can Be Known
Taken From Men This Morning
Talk With Prudence To A Beggar
A Tempest
That Is Solemn We Have Ended
That Love Is All There Is
That She Forgot Me Was The Least
That Such Have Died
Their Height In Heaven Comforts Not
There Came A Day At Summer's Full
There Is A Flower That Bees Prefer
There Is A Shame Of Nobleness
There Is A Solitude Of Space
There Is A Word
There Is Another Loneliness
There's A Certain Slant Of Light
There's Been A Death In The Opposite House
There's Something Quieter Than Sleep
These Are The Days The Reindeer Love
They Say That 'time Assuages'
They Won't Frown Always, Some Sweet Day
This Is My Letter To The World
This Merit Hath The Worst
This Was In The White Of The Year
This World Is Not Conclusion
Those Final Creatures, - Who Are They
The Thought Beneath So Slight A Film
Thought I Get Home How Late, How Late!
A Thought Went Up My Mind To-day
Three Weeks Passed Since I Had Seen Her
A Throe Upon The Features
Through Lane It Lay, Through Bramble
A Thunder-storm (2nd Version)
'tis Little I Could Care For Pearls
'tis So Much Joy! 'tis So Much Joy
'tis Sunrise, Little Maid, Hast Thou
'tis Whiter Than An Indian Pipe
Title Divine - Is Mine!
To Be Alive Is Power
To Fight Aloud Is Very Brave
To Hang Our Head Ostensibly
To Hear An Oriole Sing
To Help Our Bleaker Parts
To Know Just How He Suffered Would Be Dear
To Learn The Transport By The Pain
To Lose One's Faith Surpasses [or, - Surpass]
To Lose Thee, Sweeter Than To Gain
To Love Thee, Year By Year
To Make A Prairie
To My Quick Ear The Leaves Conferred
To Pile Like Thunder To Its Close
To See Her Is A Picture
To Tell The Beauty Would Decrease
To The Staunch Dust We Safe Commit Thee
To This Apartment Deep
To Venerate The Simple Days
To-day Or This Noon
A Toad Can Die Of Light!
Too Cold In This
Too Late
A Train Went Through A Burial Gate
The Treason Of An Accent
Triumph May Be Of Several Kinds
Trying To Forget
'twas A Long Parting, But The Time
'twas Comfort In Her Dying Room

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Emily Dickinson
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Emily Dickinson, Mabel Loomis Todd (Editor), T.W. Higginson (Editor), George Gesner (Introduction)
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