In case you didn’t get alerted by Facebook’s birthday notifications, Friday was Emily Dickinson’s 180th birthday. Don’t worry, I missed it, too. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t honor the classic poet here on the Reader’s Den!
Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst Massachusetts. After attending Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, Emily spent the rest of her life at her family’s house where she lived as a recluse. Two of her poems were published while she was alive—and without her consent—but it was her sister Lavinia who had the poems published after Emily’s death.
The poetry of Emily Dickinson has had a major impact on American Literary History. Choosing a few to discuss was quite a challenge, but here are two selections which you can find below. Feel free to comment, discuss, and even post your personal favorite Emily Dickinson poems.
I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spake with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.
Some, too fragile for winter winds,
The thoughtful grave encloses, --
Tenderly tucking them in from frost
Before their feet are cold.
Never the treasures in her nest
The cautious grave exposes,
Building where schoolboy dare not look
And sportsman is not bold.
This covert have all the children
Early aged, and often cold, --
Sparrows unnoticed by the Father;
Lambs for whom time had not a fold.
You can read more of Emily Dickinson’s poetry by visiting your local library, accessing Columbia Granger's World of Poetry with your library card, or visiting Project Gutenberg, an online collection of free e-books.