Emily Dickinson

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Little-known during her life, she has since been regarded as one of the most important figures in American poetry.[2]

Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts into a prominent family with strong ties to its community. After studying at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she briefly attended the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family’s house in Amherst.

Evidence suggests that Dickinson lived much of her life in isolation. Considered an eccentric by locals, she developed a penchant for white clothing and was known for her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, to even leave her bedroom. Dickinson never married, and most friendships between her and others depended entirely upon correspondence.[3]

While Dickinson was a prolific writer, her only publications during her lifetime were 10 of her nearly 1,800 poems, and one letter.[4] The poems published then were usually edited significantly to fit conventional poetic rules. Her poems were unique for her era. They contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation.[5] Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends, and also explore aesthetics, society, nature and spirituality.[6]

Although Dickinson’s acquaintances were most likely aware of her writing, it was not until after her death in 1886—when Lavinia, Dickinson’s younger sister, discovered her cache of poems—that her work became public. Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, though both heavily edited the content. A 1998 article in The New York Times revealed that of the many edits made to Dickinson’s work, the name “Susan” was often deliberately removed. At least eleven of Dickinson’s poems were dedicated to sister-in-law Susan Huntington Gilbert Dickinson, though all the dedications were obliterated, presumably by Todd.[7] A complete, and mostly unaltered, collection of her poetry became available for the first time when scholar Thomas H. Johnson published The Poems of Emily Dickinson in 1955.”

“Emily Dickinson.” Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emily_Dickinson. Accessed 19 Sept. 2021.

Emily Dickinson’s Black Cake Recipe:

The Messy History of Emily Dickinson’s Black Cake Recipe

In the dark pandemic days of last December, 667 people gathered on a video call to celebrate Emily Dickinson’s birthday-and her black cake. Participants were invited to bake the recipe before the gathering, and many appeared on camera with their own rendition of the cake.

Cover of the first edition of Poems,
published in 1890
Emily Dickinson, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wild Nights! Wild Nights!
Wild nights! Wild nights!
    Were I with thee,
    Wild nights should be
    Our luxury!
    Futile the winds
    To a heart in port, —
    Done with the compass,
    Done with the chart.
    Rowing in Eden!
    Ah! the sea!
    Might I but moor
    To-night in thee!


Wild Nights with Emily (2018 film) postulates that Emily may have been lovers with her sister-in-law Susan.

Official Trailer

The poet Emily Dickinson’s persona, long popularized since her death, has been that of a virginal retiring spinster – a delicate wallflower, too sensitive for this world. In this affecting comedy of manners, Molly Shannon captures the vivacious, irreverent side of Emily Dickinson that her literary executors chose to efface – most notably Emily’s lifelong romantic relationship with her sister-in-law Susan.

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