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Considered by many to be the spiritual mother of American poetry, Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) was one of the most prolific and innovative poets of her era. Well-known for her reclusive personal life in Amherst, Massachusetts, her distinctively short lines, and eccentric approach to punctuation and capitalization, she completed over seventeen hundred poems in her short life Considered by many to be the spiritual mother of American poetry, Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) was one of the most prolific and innovative poets of her era. Well-known for her reclusive personal life in Amherst, Massachusetts, her distinctively short lines, and eccentric approach to punctuation and capitalization, she completed over seventeen hundred poems in her short life. Though fewer than a dozen of her poems were actually published during her lifetime, she is still one of the most widely read poets in the English language. Over one hundred of her best poems are collected here.


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Considered by many to be the spiritual mother of American poetry, Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) was one of the most prolific and innovative poets of her era. Well-known for her reclusive personal life in Amherst, Massachusetts, her distinctively short lines, and eccentric approach to punctuation and capitalization, she completed over seventeen hundred poems in her short life Considered by many to be the spiritual mother of American poetry, Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) was one of the most prolific and innovative poets of her era. Well-known for her reclusive personal life in Amherst, Massachusetts, her distinctively short lines, and eccentric approach to punctuation and capitalization, she completed over seventeen hundred poems in her short life. Though fewer than a dozen of her poems were actually published during her lifetime, she is still one of the most widely read poets in the English language. Over one hundred of her best poems are collected here.

30 review for Poems (Shambhala Pocket Classics)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

    Because she is so freaking good-- As good--as she can be-- She makes me want--to scream--and shout-- And set my poor heart free-- Because I cannot live without-- Her rhythm--and her rhyme-- I keep this poet close at hand And only ask--for time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    I felt a sneeze - as big as God Form in - back of - my Nose Yet being - without - a Handkerchief I Panicked quite - and froze Sneeze I must - yet sneeze - must not Dilemma - made - me grieve Happy then - a single Bee Saw me - use - my sleeve Well all right, I did not read every one of the 25,678 but certainly a fair number. You know when she died they found she'd stuffed poems everywhere in her house, up the chimney, down her knickers, tied in little "packets" onto her dogs' hindquarters, someone cut a I felt a sneeze - as big as God Form in - back of - my Nose Yet being - without - a Handkerchief I Panicked quite - and froze Sneeze I must - yet sneeze - must not Dilemma - made - me grieve Happy then - a single Bee Saw me - use - my sleeve Well all right, I did not read every one of the 25,678 but certainly a fair number. You know when she died they found she'd stuffed poems everywhere in her house, up the chimney, down her knickers, tied in little "packets" onto her dogs' hindquarters, someone cut a slice of a loaf of bread to make a sandwich and another 25 poems fell out. I think Emily would have made a great drug mule if she'd have lived another 120 years. Although she may have found a serious conflict between her intense religious convictions and the large amount of cash she would have made, not to mention the radical change of lifestyle. There's - a certain - slant of - light On - winter afternoons That makes - you feel - high Like - those - small - mushrooms I put - a poem - in my pants Then sitting - by an Eternal Lake My poem - seemed - to speak aloud "Lay off - the Battenburg - cake"

  3. 5 out of 5

    Praveen

    When I hoped, I feared Since I hoped, I dared! I realized for a moment with a great sense of sadness that from now on, whenever I decide to read a famous poet for the first time, I must keep myself free from any prejudice and presumption. I had heard that she was regarded as a transcendentalist as far as the major themes in her poems were concerned. I do not know, from where I got this notion, I probably learned it from some of the early articles, I read about her poems somewhere. How authentic w When I hoped, I feared Since I hoped, I dared! I realized for a moment with a great sense of sadness that from now on, whenever I decide to read a famous poet for the first time, I must keep myself free from any prejudice and presumption. I had heard that she was regarded as a transcendentalist as far as the major themes in her poems were concerned. I do not know, from where I got this notion, I probably learned it from some of the early articles, I read about her poems somewhere. How authentic was that source? I never checked! And meanwhile, I never got time to read her, verifying such presuppositions. I'm Nobody! Who are you? Ar you--Nobody--Too? Transcendentalism is certainly present there, but I also found commonplace innocence along with that profound sapience and susceptibility for Life, Love, and Death in her poetry. She has also written on various subjects like trains, shipwreck, surgeons, contract, lost jewel, etc. But she has filled those ordinary looking stuff around, with the fragrance of her craft and sensitivity. Surgeons must be very careful When they take the knife! Underneath their fine incisions stirs the culprit,- life! She herself has claimed that she has her phrases for every thought, but she confessed her limitations as well. I found the phrase to every thought I ever had, but one; And that defies me,- as a hand did try to chalk the sun While I was reading this bulky volume, I felt in the beginning as if I were getting acquainted with a young girl, who did not want to disclose her sentiments, and who felt irritated and looked sulky when someone read her and tried to empathize with her sensibility. I felt as if she wished to keep herself hidden. But at the very next moment, I felt as if she were daring me to explore too, proving my thoughts wrong about her hesitancy, telling me how audacious her approach was. Who never climbed the weary league- Can such a foot explore The purple territories On Pizarro's shore? Her poems on nature, love, and life are extraordinarily beautiful and touching. Her sensibility in writing about hope and hunger, about life and death, about exploring and returning is just wonderful. Tomorrow night will come again Weary perhaps and sore Ah, bugle, by my window I pray you stroll once more! She has scrutinized almost everything. Her subtle observation enlarged my common sense. There were four- liners giving a sound imprint to my sensibility and then there were beautiful longer poems taking me to her world of imagination giving an impression of her vision. She was humorous at times and expressed herself lightly as well, but she never looked futile. She maintained the depth and gravity every time. I heard that though she lived a secluded life, she was never disappointed with life. I think she might have been an extremely sensitive introvert who invaginated her sentiments from the world and then from within her, came out such beautiful and impressive rhymes and verses, which made her readers feel instantly connected to her. I am so pleased and joyous reading her and having filled myself with such unique and exotic poetry of this poetess that I am going to visit her poetic world again and again. That’s a promise! The soul unto itself Is an imperial friend,- Or the most agonizing spy An enemy could send

  4. 4 out of 5

    James

    Book Review I love Emily Dickinson's poetry. I recently went to a museum exhibit dedicated to her and fell in love again with one of her poems, which I'll dissect below: Critics of Emily Dickinson’s poem number 328, commonly titled “A Bird Came Down the Walk,” have several different interpretations of the poem. Most critics believe that the poem is a “conventional symbolic account of Christian encounter within the world of nature…” (Budick 218). Although several critics take a religi Book Review I love Emily Dickinson's poetry. I recently went to a museum exhibit dedicated to her and fell in love again with one of her poems, which I'll dissect below: Critics of Emily Dickinson’s poem number 328, commonly titled “A Bird Came Down the Walk,” have several different interpretations of the poem. Most critics believe that the poem is a “conventional symbolic account of Christian encounter within the world of nature…” (Budick 218). Although several critics take a religious approach to the poem, I disagree with them. I believe that “A Bird Came Down the Walk” is about mankind’s innate fear of others who are larger/smaller than they are. I also think that the poem explains man’s reaction to this fear. The bird in poem number 328 actually represents all of mankind. When the bird is confronted with its fear, it flies away. A (wo)man is as guilty as the bird when (s)he is running away from his/her fears. When we are scared or frightened, we often run away instead of standing up to face our fears. The first stanza of Emily Dickinson’s poem shows a bird doing what it normally does all day long: “A Bird came down the walk / He did not know I saw / He bit an Angleworm in halves / And ate the fellow raw.” However, there is a deeper meaning in this stanza than the idea of a bird simply eating a raw worm. According to Jonnie G. Guerra, “the speaker’s choice of verbs seems to express a desire to anthropomorphize the bird” (Guerra 29). By giving the bird human-like qualities, the narrator invites the readers to compare the bird’s actions to mankind’s actions. The man is actually a human being who is eating his lunch or dinner. Since the bird does not know that the reader sees him eating a worm, the bird is perfectly at peace going about his daily business. Humans are identical to the bird in this sense. We follow our daily routines of eating, drinking, sleeping, shopping, and working; yet, we rarely realize that someone may be watching our every move. All throughout the day, parents watch their children to insure their safety, teachers monitor their students’ progress in order to help them do well, and bosses keep a close watch on their employees to see if they are doing the work that they were hired to do. There is always a pair of eyes beating down on us to scrutinize our every action, just like the narrator scrutinizes the bird’s actions. Through the bird, who is unaware of the man watching him, the narrator shows that no one is ever completely alone. The bird may be in danger, and it feels as though someone or something is approaching it. The second stanza continues with the anthropomorphization of the bird: “And then he drank a Dew / From a convenient Grass / And then hopped sideways to the Wall / To let a Beetle pass.” The reader sees the resemblance of the bird to a human in this stanza when the bird drinks a dew because “grass” suggests an echo-pun on glass (Guerra 29). However, this stanza also sets up a situation that shows the goodness of humankind. Charles R. Metzger “playfully suggests a fancifully anthropomorphic sense of genteel deportment in the bird’s letting a “Beetle pass” (Metzger 22). Here, the narrator shows that the bird is kind enough to step out of the way for the beetle, a creature smaller than the bird, to pass by. Continuing with the theory that the bird is actually a human, readers then see how we humans often try to be accommodating to others. When others aren’t as capable of doing something on their own, man will often go out of his/her way to make it more convenient for them. When we are in the way of others’ goals, we try to get out of their way if at all possible. With its human-like qualities, the bird follows the “Golden Rule” just as man does. Since we are never alone in the world, we must work to make friends. Perhaps, the bird is trying to befriend the beetle. It is unlikely, but still, the bird is friendly by moving out of the beetle’s way. However, the bird’s friendliness isn’t enough to keep the bird calm when the stranger/narrator advances toward it. As a result, the third stanza shows a change in the bird’s composure: “He glanced with rapid eyes / That hurried all around / They looked like frightened Beads, I thought / He stirred his Velvet Head.” When the bird stepped to the side, he realized that the narrator was watching him. He wasn’t alone at all. Fear starts to enter into the bird’s blood, making him look for the nearest escape route. The bird is unsure of the narrator, and what his/her intentions are. The narrator might be there to cause harm, or the narrator could be there to express kindness as the bird did for the beetle. Folk wisdom has always said that the eyes are the windows to one’s soul. When the bird’s eyes glance all around, the fear is evident; only in a case of extreme fright would the bird’s eyes become beady and glassy (Andersen 119). At this point in the poem, the narrator is physically close to the bird. While the bird is afraid of the man who is close to him, we humans are afraid of the people closest to us. The people who know us best and are closest to us have the power to hurt us the most. We are so unaware of other’s eyes beating down us at times that we become victims quite easily. We may be accommodating to a point, but we should never be accommodating to the point that we lose our focus and our direction. We need to hold back from others so that we maintain some order in our lives. Fear cannot take control of us. When it does, we must get away from it somehow, just as the bird does. The fourth stanza of the poem shows the bird reacting to the narrator’s approach: “Like one in danger, cautious, / I offered him a Crumb / And he unrolled his feathers / And rowed him softer home.” Now, the narrator approaches the bird and offers to feed him, but the bird is frightened and flies away. The bird is quite small in comparison to the narrator. The narrator’s size is what scares the bird away. Charles R. Anderson notes that Dickinson “keeps the whole garden world reduced to the bird’s size. The [narrator] is left towering above and outside, having no magical elixir like Alice in Wonderland to shrink her down to a level where communication is possible” (Anderson 118). Jerome Loving agrees by pointing out that “if there is any suggestion of danger, it comes when the human narrator offers the bird a crumb. The truth is that nature is a nice place, a pastoral scene until man blunders on stage with the full weight of his past and future” (Loving 56). We humans have the same innate fear as birds when we face someone who is larger than we are. If someone is higher up on the corporate ladder than us, we are constantly afraid that he or she will fire us. Students have the fear of teachers failing them just as the bird feels the human will hurt him. Children feel afraid of their parents punishing them at times also. Everywhere we turn, there is someone who is stronger or more important than we are. We will always feel as though others are going to do something to hurt us; therefore, we need to escape this fear by running away like the bird does. If one looks at it another way, the bird could also be afraid of the entire world. Even though the beetle is smaller than the bird is, the bird might still be afraid. It is common knowledge that elephants are often afraid of mice, which are hundreds of times smaller than elephants are. Perhaps the bird’s nerves are on edge, and he is afraid of anything that makes a slight, sudden move. The beetle could cause harm too. Humans are often afraid of spiders and bees, which are quite small in comparison to man. Nevertheless, the bird runs away just as man does when confronted with a situation he fears. The fifth stanza shows that the bird flies away softly and quickly: “Than Oars divide the Ocean / Too silver for a seam / Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon / Leap, plashless as they swim.” The bird knows that it is in danger and must leave as quickly as possible. Also, the bird wants to leave quietly, in the hopes that the narrator doesn’t realize that the bird is leaving. We humans also try to leave swiftly and quietly. We know when we have been defeated, and we try to leave with our tail between our legs. We are ashamed and upset that someone has hurt us or tried to hurt us, so we escape. Running or flying away may not be the best way to handle the situation, but that is all that we know how to do. Man is accustomed to flee a situation rather than to confront it. Therefore, the bird, who represents man, flees too. According to Anderson, “The dangers as well as the beauty represented by nature at large… are here concentrated in a single bird that exhibits a complex mix of qualities: ferocity, fastidiousness, courtesy, fear, and grace” (Anderson 221). The bird in Emily Dickinson’s poem “A Bird Came Down the Walk” can be representative of humans, since humans have the qualities such as fear, courtesy, and grace in their personality. Dickinson’s poem comments on man’s innate fear of others. We humans are always being watched and when we realize how close someone is to us, we need to run for fear that (s)he will hurt us. Our fleeing is done with grace and courtesy. It is a reaction that all humans have at one point or another. Dickinson’s poem shows the readers this fear and the results of the fear on mankind. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Duane

    This is a huge volume of poetry and probably not meant to be read straight through, but that's what I did. Some of them I didn't like or understand, but there were many that I thought were beautiful and perfectly suited to my feelings. I think that's the way with most poets and their readers. After reading, I was left in wonder about this strange and reclusive woman who saw only a handful of her poems published before her death. She never knew she would be a success, never knew her poems would b This is a huge volume of poetry and probably not meant to be read straight through, but that's what I did. Some of them I didn't like or understand, but there were many that I thought were beautiful and perfectly suited to my feelings. I think that's the way with most poets and their readers. After reading, I was left in wonder about this strange and reclusive woman who saw only a handful of her poems published before her death. She never knew she would be a success, never knew her poems would be loved by millions of people, and never knew she would be considered one of the greatest American poets.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    Emily Dickinson's poems convinced me, at an early age of 9 or 10, to become a writer myself. I discovered her poems from the obsolete American textbooks my mother got from the collection in our school library. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, when it was too hot to play outside and children were forced to take afternoon siestas, I'd end up reading her poems and imagined the person, that woman, with whom I shared similar thoughts. My favorite poem remains to this day: I'm nobody! Who are you? Are Emily Dickinson's poems convinced me, at an early age of 9 or 10, to become a writer myself. I discovered her poems from the obsolete American textbooks my mother got from the collection in our school library. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, when it was too hot to play outside and children were forced to take afternoon siestas, I'd end up reading her poems and imagined the person, that woman, with whom I shared similar thoughts. My favorite poem remains to this day: I'm nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too? Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell! They'd banish us, you know. How dreary to be somebody! How public, like a frog To tell your name the livelong day To an admiring bog! I knew of course that she never became famous in her lifetime, and that was something she didn't particularly aim for. But her poems assured me that there was something else I needed to do, somewhere else I had to be. Like everything, including our physical state was just temporary. So I grew up looking forward to the day when I'd have enough courage to write about my thoughts and feelings and be able to say, this is my letter to the world who never wrote to me... ;)

  7. 5 out of 5

    E. G.

    Introduction --Poems Acknowledgments Previous Collections Subject Index Index of First Lines

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Sweet skepticism of the Heart- That knows - and does not know- Sometimes there is only one place to go: within, where the mind and body communicate poetically. Those poets of her time, they stayed securely snuggled into their worlds, while she traversed the unbeaten paths around them, creating abstract spaces made tangible through musicality. They stayed within their conformed art and hers elevated both the physical and mental, while she wrote from a house they deemed her prison, but one that wou Sweet skepticism of the Heart- That knows - and does not know- Sometimes there is only one place to go: within, where the mind and body communicate poetically. Those poets of her time, they stayed securely snuggled into their worlds, while she traversed the unbeaten paths around them, creating abstract spaces made tangible through musicality. They stayed within their conformed art and hers elevated both the physical and mental, while she wrote from a house they deemed her prison, but one that would become this artist's fortress. Shall I take thee, the Poet said To the propounded word? "She was aware of external standards but did not strive to adhere to them." They wrote with one accord, while she created her own rules: dashes to replace punctuation, incorrect spelling, melancholia refined through unique language and made beautiful on the page. Shame is the shawl of Pink In which we wrap the Soul To keep it from infesting Eyes- The elemental Veil She didn't marry, didn't do many of the things expected of a woman living in her century. In fact it took a while for her art to be seriously recognized. Still, she wrote. She wrote to figure out the pain she lived with. She wrote to conquer her fears. She wrote to bring us introspection through the word. And when she had no friends, when she was betrayed by lovers, she wrote about the solace she found in Nature, the peace she found in the still of the universe. My best Acquaintances are those With Whom I spoke no Word - Over the years, I've read a few of her poems here and there, but this edition, this collection, is my favorite. It is one to have on the shelf and revisit. I stayed with this for some time, savored Dickinson's words, viewed the world through her poet's eyes, as I followed the chronological organization of her poems. The poems are arranged according to years, 1850 and onwards, towards the 1880s, around the time of her death (although the numbering is different which is a bit annoying because Dickinson's poems rely on numbers as titles). 1877 I think is my favorite year, when some of her longer poems occur, at times both scathingly introspective and inclusive of the natural world, confident, opinionated.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aubrey

    They shut me up in Prose — As when a little Girl They put me in the Closet — Because they liked me “still” — Still! Could themself have peeped — And seen my Brain — go round — They might as wise have lodged a Bird For Treason — in the Pound — Himself has but to will And easy as a Star Abolish his Captivity — And laugh — No more have I — I recently ran across an argument against eBooks that went along the lines of suspicions of censorship, commenting on how easy it would be for publishers and the like to They shut me up in Prose — As when a little Girl They put me in the Closet — Because they liked me “still” — Still! Could themself have peeped — And seen my Brain — go round — They might as wise have lodged a Bird For Treason — in the Pound — Himself has but to will And easy as a Star Abolish his Captivity — And laugh — No more have I — I recently ran across an argument against eBooks that went along the lines of suspicions of censorship, commenting on how easy it would be for publishers and the like to change the text at any point via the digital interface, obfuscating any spot of material at any point thought necessary and rendering the interaction between reader and reading as puppet and puppeteer. A plausible occurrence, but an old one. Technology does not birth new abuses of communication and truth; it merely expedites, and leaves a different trail. A century and a quarter after Dickinson's death, almost sixty years after the last of her poems were finally published as they were meant to be, and still much too much is made of the means by which she composed. Never mind the seven years of higher learning, the keen network of letters enabling a vibrant circle of thought, the oeuvre itself in its wondrous breadth and brilliant insight that puts many a classical novel to shame. No, let us instead focus on how weird she was, how closeted her life, how quiet her compositions, how we rescued her work from the dire abyss and shaped it for the public whims and fancies as to how an American gentlewoman of that day and age should have written. How easy it is for us to focus on the cutesy trifles, the small morbidities, the things we call experimentation in men and "capriciousness" in women, that last word courtesy of Thomas H. Johnson, editor extraordinaire. So proud he was of his complete collection and yet still couldn't give his scholarly focus the benefit of the doubt. Endow the Living — with the Tears — You squander on the Dead, And They were Men and Women — now, Around Your Fireside — Instead of Passive Creatures, Denied the Cherishing Till They — the Cherishing deny — With Death's Ethereal Scorn — One favor Johnson did well enough when he wasn't patronizing his chosen poet was accompany every poem with two years: one of composition, the other of publication. The first of the review was written 1862, published 1935. The second also 1862, yet published 1945. Once the anger at such mincing censorship has cooled, the text becomes invaluable, for here is a shameless record of piece by piece persistence of a work through the consternation of the ages. Paranoia inspired by digital outposts has nothing on a history of flagrant editing, closeting, disbelief and pride, till the author finally gets her due in her own words if not those of others. God is indeed a jealous God — He cannot bear to see That we had rather not with Him But with each other play. Written unknown, published 1945. Multifaceted the academics say, as if this wasn't a lifetime contained in 1,775 proofs of existence whose range of thematic material could have easily come together into one of those weighty tomes popularized by those with sufficient freedom of time and respect of endeavor by both Self and Other. Thought, Truth, Ethics, Creation, Creed, Deserving Pride, Bound Despair, Fragility of Self, Violence of Intellectual Development, Inexorable Stretching of Time from Second to Eternity and All the Survival Between, to name just a few of the topics captured so surely in succinct measures in some of my favorites of hers, thirty-one in total and not a single one seen before in high school classrooms and other variations on the popularity context. If you want the scale of a legacy of ungrateful disrespect, try Moby-Dick; or, The Whale on for size. Now make Melville a woman. His Mind like Fabrics of the East Displayed to the despair Of everyone but here and there An humble Purchaser — For though his price was not of Gold — More arduous there is — That one should comprehend the worth Was all the price there was — Written 1878, published 1945. Even her compositional submission to virulent androcentrism couldn't revive this particular piece till near seventy years went by. Her mind was a marvel and knew it, too, clear evidence in her just contempt, her needful compartmentalization, her courting with the furthest ends of triumph and sheer oblivion. She never needed to go to war to know the futility of achieving glory and fame by means of homicidal finality, nor venture far from her chosen methodology of creation to contemplate the rise and fall of Life and Ideal the world over. Milton was blind when he conjured up Paradise Lost through dictation to his daughters, and nary a murmur that mayhap some of the result was her or her own. Dickinson was a woman who found the means to contemplate; the rest is sordid history and ugly present. Witchcraft was hung, in History, But History and I Find all the Witchcraft that we need Around us, every Day — Written 1883, published 1945. I think I was enchanted When first a somber Girl — I read that Foreign Lady — The Dark — felt beautiful — [...] Written 1862, published 1935. [...] My Splendors, are Menagerie — But their Completeless Show Will entertain the Centuries When I, am long ago, An Island in dishonored Grass — Whom none but Beetles — know. Written 1861, published 1896. Whitman's multitudes came first, but Dickinson knew the difference then as bitingly as she would now. She was dead when others came to rifle through her work, and still they insisted on putting it and her persona through the torturous paces of then till today. Her words excavated themselves long before technology came into play; how long till we stop pretending otherwise? P.S. She talked about the Birds and the Bees a lot. Just saying.

  10. 4 out of 5

    JV (semi-hiatus)

    Sigh... I just experienced poetic gut punches from Emily herself. From this collection alone, there's a total of 1,775 poems. Blimey! A huge compilation if you ask me! Honestly, I didn't read every poem, because that would probably result in me having a mushy brain (poor noodle!). I just skimmed through a lot of them and just selected those that are meaningful to me. Her poems are oftentimes cryptic in nature (which made me scratch my head), but there are those that connect quite well with me. M Sigh... I just experienced poetic gut punches from Emily herself. From this collection alone, there's a total of 1,775 poems. Blimey! A huge compilation if you ask me! Honestly, I didn't read every poem, because that would probably result in me having a mushy brain (poor noodle!). I just skimmed through a lot of them and just selected those that are meaningful to me. Her poems are oftentimes cryptic in nature (which made me scratch my head), but there are those that connect quite well with me. Most of Emily's poems are full of bliss, despair, life, death, love, and nature, but most of the time, she obsessively delves into the dark aspect of life — mortality. This might be due to her life experiences as she witnessed the deaths of her closest family members and friends. A life of solitude, Emily preferred (heck, this woman obviously and seriously needs a hug!); and as reclusive as she is, she channeled her inner feelings in creating some of the most enduring poems that the world has loved. And as for me, I'd rather eat my feelings, because that's what I'm good at. *Spoiler tags aren't actually spoilers, just used those to expand/compress the poems.* It's all I have to bring today(view spoiler)[ It's all I have to bring today — This, and my heart beside — This, and my heart, and all the fields — And all the meadows wide — Be sure you count — should I forget Some one the sum could tell — This, and my heart, and all the Bees Which in the Clover dwell. (hide spoiler)] If recollecting were forgetting,(view spoiler)[ If recollecting were forgetting, Then I remember not And if forgetting, recollecting, How near I had forgot. And if to miss, were merry, And to mourn, were gay, How very blithe the fingers That gathered this, Today! (hide spoiler)] Heart! We will forget him!(view spoiler)[ Heart! We will forget him! You and I — tonight! You may forget the warmth he gave — I will forget the light! When you have done, pray tell me That I may straight begin! Haste! lest while you're lagging I remember him! (hide spoiler)] Good night, because we must,(view spoiler)[ Good night, because we must, How intricate the dust! I would go, to know! Oh incognito! Saucy, Saucy Seraph To elude me so! Father! they won't tell me, Won't you tell them to? (hide spoiler)] Cocoon above! Cocoon below!(view spoiler)[ Cocoon above! Cocoon below! Stealthy Cocoon, why hide you so What all the world suspect? An hour, and gay on every tree Your secret, perched in ecstasy Defies imprisonment! An hour in Chrysalis to pass, Then gay above receding grass A Butterfly to go! A moment to interrogate, Then wiser than a "Surrogate," The Universe to know! (hide spoiler)] He was weak, and I was strong(view spoiler)[ He was weak, and I was strong — then — So He let me lead him in — I was weak, and He was strong then — So I let him lead me — Home. 'Twasn't far — the door was near — 'Twasn't dark — for He went — too' — 'Twasn't loud, for He said nought — That was all I cared to know. Day knocked -and we must part — Neither was strongest — now — He strove — and I strove — too — We didn't do It — tho'! (hide spoiler)] I Came to buy a smile — today(view spoiler)[ I Came to buy a smile — today — But just a single smile — The smallest one upon your face Will suit me just as well — The one that no one else would miss It shone so very small — I'm pleading at the "counter"— sir — Could you afford to sell — I've Diamonds — on my fingers — You know what Diamonds are? I've Rubies — like the Evening Blood — And Topaz — like the star! 'Twould be "a Bargain" for a Jew' Say — may I have it — Sir? (hide spoiler)] I held a Jewel m my fingers(view spoiler)[ I held a Jewel in my fingers— And went to sleep — The day was warm, and winds were prosy — I said " 'TWill keep" — I woke — and chid my honest fingers, The Gem was gone — And now, an Amethyst remembrance Is all I own — (hide spoiler)] "Hope" is the thing With feathers(view spoiler)[ "Hope" is the thing With feathers — That perches in the soul — And sings the tune Without the words — And never stops — at all — And sweetest — in the Gale — is heard — And sore must be the storm — That could abash the little Bird That kept so many warm — I've heard it in the chillest land — And on the strangest Sea — Yet, never, in Extremity, It asked a crumb — of Me. (hide spoiler)] I felt a Funeral, m my Brain,(view spoiler)[ I felt a Funeral, in my Brain, And Mourners to and fro Kept treading — treading — till it seemed That Sense was breaking through — And when they all were seated, A Service, like a Drum — Kept beating — beating — till I thought My Mind was going numb — And then I heard them lift a Box And creak across my Soul With those same Boots of Lead, again, Then Space — began to toll, As all the Heavens were a Bell, And Being, but an Ear, And I, and Silence, some strange Race Wrecked, solitary, here — And then a Plank in Reason, broke, And I dropped down, and down — And hit a World, at every plunge, And Finished knowing — then — (hide spoiler)] I'm Nobody! Who are you?(view spoiler)[ I'm Nobody! Who are you? Are you — Nobody — Too? Then there's a pair of us? Don't tell! they'd advertise — you know! How dreary — to be — Somebody! How public — like a Frog — To tell one's name — the livelong June — To an admiring Bog! (hide spoiler)] It's like the Light(view spoiler)[ It's like the Light — A fashionless Delight — It's like the Bee — A dateless — Melody — It's like the Woods — Private — Like the Breeze Phraseless — yet it stirs The proudest Trees — It's like the Morning — Best — when it's done — And the Everlasting Clocks — Chime — Noon! (hide spoiler)] I cannot dance upon my Toes(view spoiler)[ I cannot dance upon my Toes — No Man instructed me — But oftentimes, among my mind, A Glee possesseth me, That had I Ballet knowledge — Would put itself abroad In Pirouette to blanch a Troupe — Or lay a Prima, mad, And though I had no Gown of Gauze — No Ringlet, to my Hair, Nor hopped to Audiences — like Birds, One Claw upon the Air, Nor tossed my shape in Eider Balls, Nor rolled on wheels of snow Till I was out of sight, in sound, The House encore me so — Nor any know I know the Art I ment1on — easy — Here — Nor any Placard boast me — It's full as Opera — (hide spoiler)] A Bird came down the Walk(view spoiler)[ A Bird came down the Walk — He did not know I saw — He bit an Angleworm in halves And ate the fellow, raw, And then he drank a Dew From a convenient Grass — And then hopped sidewise to the Wall To let a Beetle pass — He glanced with rapid eyes That hurried all around — They looked like frightened Beads, I thought — He stirred his Velvet Head Like one in danger, Cautious, I offered him a Crumb And he unrolled his feathers And rowed him softer home — Than Oars divide the Ocean, Too silver for a seam — Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon Leap, plashless as they swim. (hide spoiler)] Death sets a Thing significant(view spoiler)[ Death sets a Thing significant The Eye had hurried by Except a perished Creature Entreat us tenderly To ponder little Workmanships In Crayon, or in Wool, With "This was last Her fingers did" — Industrious until — The Thimble weighed too heavy — The stitches stopped — themselves — And then 'twas put among the Dust Upon the Closet shelves — A Book I have — a friend gave — Whose Pencil — here and there — Had notched the place that pleased Him — At Rest — His fingers are — Now — when I read — I read not — For interrupting Tears — Obliterate the Etchings Too Costly for Repairs. (hide spoiler)] This is my letter to the World(view spoiler)[ This is my letter to the World That never wrote to Me — The simple News that Nature told — W1th tender Majesty Her Message is committed To Hands I cannot see — For love of Her — Sweet — countrymen — Judge tenderly — of Me (hide spoiler)] I heard a Fly buzz — when I died(view spoiler)[ I heard a Fly buzz — when I died — The Stillness in the Room Was like the Stillness in the Air — Between the Heaves of Storm — The Eyes around — had wrung them dry — And Breaths were gathering firm For that last Onset — when the King Be witnessed — in the Room — I willed my Keepsakes — Signed away What portion of me be Assignable — and then It was There interposed a Fly — With Blue — uncertain stumbling Buzz — Between the light — and me — And then the Windows failed — and then I could not see to see — (hide spoiler)] "Why do I love" You, Sir?(view spoiler)[ "Why do I love" You, Sir? Because — The Wind does not require the Grass To answer — Wherefore when He pass She cannot keep Her place. Because He knows — and Do not You — And We know not — Enough for Us The Wisdom it be so — The Lightning — never asked an Eye Wherefore it shut — when He was by — Because He knows it cannot speak — And reasons not contained — — Of Talk — There be — preferred by Daintier Folk — The Sunnse — Sir — compelleth Me — Because He's Sunrise — and I see — Therefore — Then — I love Thee — (hide spoiler)] I would not paint — a picture(view spoiler)[ I would not paint — a picture — I'd rather be the One Its bright Impossibility To dwell — delicious — on — And wonder how the fingers feel Whose rare — celestial — stir — Evokes so sweet a Torment — Such sumptuous — Despair — I would not talk, like Cornets— I'd rather be the One Raised softly to the Ceilings — And out, and easy on — Through Villages of Ether — Myself endued Balloon By but a lip of Metal — The pier to my Pontoon — Nor would I be a Poet — It's finer — own the Ear — Enamored — Impotent — content — The License to revere, A privilege so awful What would the Dower be, Had I the Art to stun myself With Bolts of Melody (hide spoiler)] To fill a Gap(view spoiler)[ To fill a Gap Insert the Thing that caused it — Block it up With Other — and 'twill yawn the more — You cannot solder an Abyss With Air. (hide spoiler)] Because I could not stop for Death(view spoiler)[ Because I could not stop for Death — He kindly stopped for me — The Carriage held but just Ourselves — And Immortality. We slowly drove — He knew no haste And I had put away My labor and my leisure too, For His Civility — We passed the School, where Children strove At Recess — in the Ring — We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain — We passed the Setting Sun — Or rather — He passed Us — The Dews drew quivering and chill — For only Gossamer, my Gown — My Tippet — only Tulle — We paused before a House that seemed A Swelling of the Ground — The Roof was scarcely visible — The Cornice — in the Ground — Since then — 'tis Centuries — and yet Feels shorter than the Day I fust surmised the Horses' Heads Were toward Eternity — (hide spoiler)] How happy I was if I could forget(view spoiler)[ How happy I was if I could forget To remember how sad I am Would be an easy adversity But the recollecting of Bloom Keeps making November difficult Till I who was almost bold Lose my way like a little Child And perish of the cold. (hide spoiler)] I hide myself within my flower,(view spoiler)[ I hide myself within my flower, That fading from your Vase, You, unsuspecting, feel for me — Almost a loneliness. (hide spoiler)] Love — is anterior to Life(view spoiler)[ Love — is anterior to Life — Posterior — to Death — Initial of Creation, and The Exponent of Earth — (hide spoiler)] A word is dead(view spoiler)[ A word is dead When it is said, Some say. I say it just Begins to live That day. (hide spoiler)] They might not need me — yet they might(view spoiler)[ They might not need me — yet they might — I'll let my Heart be just in sight — A smile so small as mine might be Precisely their necessity — (hide spoiler)] Opinion is a flitting thing,(view spoiler)[ Opinion is a flitting thing, But Truth, outlasts the Sun — If then we cannot own them both — Possess the oldest one — (hide spoiler)]

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dolors

    “I taste a liquor never brewed” by Emily Dickinson I taste a liquor never brewed – From Tankards scooped in Pearl – Not all the Vats upon the Rhine Yield such an Alcohol! Inebriate of air – am I – And Debauchee of Dew – Reeling – thro' endless summer days – From inns of molten Blue – When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee Out of the Foxglove's door – When Butterflies – renounce their "drams" – I shall but drink the more! Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats – And Saints – to windows run – To see the little Tippl “I taste a liquor never brewed” by Emily Dickinson I taste a liquor never brewed – From Tankards scooped in Pearl – Not all the Vats upon the Rhine Yield such an Alcohol! Inebriate of air – am I – And Debauchee of Dew – Reeling – thro' endless summer days – From inns of molten Blue – When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee Out of the Foxglove's door – When Butterflies – renounce their "drams" – I shall but drink the more! Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats – And Saints – to windows run – To see the little Tippler Leaning against the – Sun! Inebriated by poetry "I taste a liquor never brewed" a poem by E. Dickinson For me, this is an hymn to poetry and what is sacred about the act of writing. I read line after line as an invocation to beauty in all its natural forms until I got drunk with it, until I, the reader, was able to reach the heavens and join its inhabitants, Seraphs and Saints, along with Emily, who is writing from there. In this sense, I guess that we, the readers who are able to share beauty through words, are rewarded with the admittance in Dickinson's house of possibility and poetry. The poem read also as an hymn for me because of its musicality and rhyme which I became aware of when I first read the poem out loud. The way the words sang by themselves came as a surprise, and the lack of punctuation, only the dashes and the capital letters to emphasise some words, made the poem more open and infinite. Analysing stanza by stanza, the poem starts with a reference to a certain liquor, which is a strange one, because it was never brewed and because its vastness wouldn't fit into such a huge river as the Rhine. There's also the reference to the ancient age of this liquor, because the Rhine, along with the Danube, appeared as important rivers in historical texts during the Roman Empire. So, going forward, this strange alcohol, makes the " I " in this poem inebriated. I understand this " I " as the writer, in this case, Emily. She speaks of herself being drunk with this strange liquor, a liquor which comes from dew, air and summer days melted in endless blue skies. As I see it, in this second stanza, Emily is describing the beauty of the natural world as overwhelming, she is dizzy, intoxicated with it, and she drinks it in the inns of Nature. And in the third stanza she stresses out this last idea even more, because the more the inhabitants of this natural world, the bee, the foxglove, the butterfly, are denied by foreign "Landlords", emphasised by quotation marks, the more she drinks of this natural liquor, the more inebriated she becomes. As for the interpretation of these Landlords, I take it as if they were the real world, the rationality, Emily's house of prose. The ones who call the imagination back to earth and out of this world of poetry and possibility. The last stanza is for me, the most difficult to analyse. Emily is intoxicated by the beauty of nature and ultimately, of poetry, but she keeps drinking and drinking in it, until the whole act of writing becomes sacred. I understand that she reaches heaven in the Biblical sense, and salvation if I dare say. I'll risk it by saying that this "Tippler" might be Jesus, leaning against this sun, this shinning light, waiting for her to reach out for her destiny, her fate, her mission in life, which is to write, to become a poet. And just another conclusion after rereading the whole thing again. I also think, that the metaphor of liquor and inebriation is not a casual one. If you think of men drinking in inns and socialising in the XIXth century, you might wonder how a reclusive person as Emily might view this kind of activity. Surely she might have disapproved of someone getting drunk, and this poem might also be a criticism to such behaviour and at the same time, she elevates something she finds ugly or negative to an utterly magnificent and celestial act, the act of writing, proving its capacity to transform the dull world of reality into a beautiful fan of possibilities.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Emily Dickinson articulates my own thoughts and feelings in a way I never could. She manifests my ideal. She validates my existence. If you like Emily, I like you. I hide myself within my flower, That wearing on your breast, You, unsuspecting, wear me too— And angels know the rest. I hide myself within my flower, That, fading from your vase, You, unsuspecting, feel for me Almost a loneliness.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Théodore

    " Why do I love You, Sir ? Because The wind does not require the Grass To answer - Wherefore when He pass She cannot keep Her place . Because He knows - and Do not you - And we know not - Enough for Us The wisdom it be so - The Lightning - never asked an Eye Wherefore it shut - when He was by - Because He knows it cannot speak - And reasons not contained - Of Talk - There be - preferred by Daintier Folk - The Sunrise - Sire - compelleth me Because He's Sunrise - and I see - Therefore - Then - " Why do I love You, Sir ? Because The wind does not require the Grass To answer - Wherefore when He pass She cannot keep Her place . Because He knows - and Do not you - And we know not - Enough for Us The wisdom it be so - The Lightning - never asked an Eye Wherefore it shut - when He was by - Because He knows it cannot speak - And reasons not contained - Of Talk - There be - preferred by Daintier Folk - The Sunrise - Sire - compelleth me Because He's Sunrise - and I see - Therefore - Then - I love Thee. "

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    See the Dickinson documentary A Loaded Gun for my take on this writer, arguably the best poet in English. (I play the villain in that film directed by James Wolpaw.) I have given reading-whistlings of ED's bird poems*, from memory of course, in the garden of the Dickinson Manse in Amherst, and I have recited an hour of Dickinson on several occasions (from memory). In fact, Dickinson is fairly easy to memorize--a hallmark of fine verse. Perhaps only Yeats' tetrametric "Under Ben Bulben" is easier See the Dickinson documentary A Loaded Gun for my take on this writer, arguably the best poet in English. (I play the villain in that film directed by James Wolpaw.) I have given reading-whistlings of ED's bird poems*, from memory of course, in the garden of the Dickinson Manse in Amherst, and I have recited an hour of Dickinson on several occasions (from memory). In fact, Dickinson is fairly easy to memorize--a hallmark of fine verse. Perhaps only Yeats' tetrametric "Under Ben Bulben" is easier to recall, and maybe a couple Seventeenth Century lyrics, and maybe a ballad or two. (I may add, as a Shakespearean for 35 years, I have memorized a couple dozen of his sonnets and maybe twenty major speeches. Some of his sonnets are easy to memorize: one I learned in ten minutes one morning walking; others I have to re-memorize every year.) I recommend reading this poet three poems a day for a year and a half. They resonate so much that time between them rewards the reader. If you read them straight through, you may withdraw your participation in the text. A very famous critic I know well read all the poems and her critics in a couple months; he came away less appreciative. I say, he would not have read all Shakespeare like that, and Dickinson has the heft of Shakespeare. In many cases, one must know--say, what Robins eat--to enjoy: "A Bird came down the Walk - He did not know I saw - He bit an Angle Worm in halves And ate the fellow, raw..." Or on a much less common bird now, which I only saw after decades, though I heard when young: "I"ll tell you how the sun rose-- A Ribbon at a time. The Steeple swam in Amethyst, The News--like Squirrels--ran. The hills untied their bonnets, The bobolinks begun. Then I said softly to myself, “That must have been the sun!” Some other Dickinson critiques I have published in my Birdtalk (Random House/ Frog, 2003). * In winters I always recite her Blue Jay, "No Brigadier throughout the year/ So Civic as the Jay..." and always her Oriole, "One of the ones that Midas touched/ Who failed to touch us all.." as well as a couple of her short Robin poems, "The Robin is the One/ That interrupts the Morn/ With Hurried, few, express Reports/When March is scarecely on."

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    4 stars After reading through most of these poems, Emily remains one of my top favorite poets. However, I also came across many poems that I felt no connection with and frankly made no sense to me. So with that in mind, I unfortunately couldn't give this 5 stars. Still a great experience though! I highly recommend this book if you're a fan of poetry and/or Emily Dickinson. 4 stars After reading through most of these poems, Emily remains one of my top favorite poets. However, I also came across many poems that I felt no connection with and frankly made no sense to me. So with that in mind, I unfortunately couldn't give this 5 stars. Still a great experience though! I highly recommend this book if you're a fan of poetry and/or Emily Dickinson.

  16. 5 out of 5

    ~Jo~

    This book boasts a fabulous collection of work's by Emily Dickinson. Admittedly, I didn't enjoy all of them, hence the four stars given, but the majority of the poem's were beautifully written, as well as being rather thought provoking. "He fumbles at your spirit As players at the keys Before they drop full music on; He stuns you by degrees, Prepares your brittle substance For the ethereal blow, By fainter hammers, further heard, Then nearer, then so slow Your breath has time to straighten. Your This book boasts a fabulous collection of work's by Emily Dickinson. Admittedly, I didn't enjoy all of them, hence the four stars given, but the majority of the poem's were beautifully written, as well as being rather thought provoking. "He fumbles at your spirit As players at the keys Before they drop full music on; He stuns you by degrees, Prepares your brittle substance For the ethereal blow, By fainter hammers, further heard, Then nearer, then so slow Your breath has time to straighten. Your brain to bubble cool,- Deals one imperial thunderbolt That scalps your naked soul"

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    Twas such a little, little boat That toddled down the bay! ‘T was such a gallant, gallant sea That beckoned it away! ‘T was such a greedy, greedy wave That licked it from the coast; Nor ever guessed the stately sails My little craft was lost!<\b> Or this one, The morns are meeker than they were, The nuts are getting brown; “The berry’s cheek is plumper, The rose is out of town. The maple wears a gayer scarf, The field a scarlet gown. Lest I should be old-fashioned, I’ll put a trinket on.<\b> Immeasurable and pr Twas such a little, little boat That toddled down the bay! ‘T was such a gallant, gallant sea That beckoned it away! ‘T was such a greedy, greedy wave That licked it from the coast; Nor ever guessed the stately sails My little craft was lost!<\b> Or this one, The morns are meeker than they were, The nuts are getting brown; “The berry’s cheek is plumper, The rose is out of town. The maple wears a gayer scarf, The field a scarlet gown. Lest I should be old-fashioned, I’ll put a trinket on.<\b> Immeasurable and prolific Emily Dickinson wrote nearly 2,000 poems. Upon reading this complete collection it is remarkable the sheer amount of beautiful opening lines, certainly more than any other poet that I’ve read. Dickinson’s poems are typically very short and heavily metaphorical. Dickinson’s great gifts are that of a consummate observer — both of nature and of her immediate environment — and her propensity to draw metaphors. Her observations in many poems deal with the theme of depression. Dickinson we know was a bit of a hermit. She also was not really much of a story teller in the usual sense since she wrote no epic length poems. But her poetry holds up well considering most were penned prior to 1850. Since Dickinson did not provide titles for most of her poems editors often name the poem after the first line. I have followed their standard here. Here are my favorites. All are in the public domain. 1. Unreturning 2. The Brain within its Groove 3. A Service of Song 4. A Day 5. Autumn 6. I’m nobody, who are you? 7. In the Garden 8. November 9. I felt a funeral in my brain 10. Dead 11. Charlotte Bronte’s Grave 12. Nobody Knows this Little Rose 13. I fear a man of frugal speech 14. I never saw a moor 15. Dear March, Come In 16. Tis easier to pity those when dead 4.5 stars.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Florencia

    5 I have a Bird in spring Which for myself doth sing — The spring decoys. And as the summer nears — And as the Rose appears, Robin is gone. Yet do I not repine Knowing that Bird of mine Though flown — Learneth beyond the sea Melody new for me And will return. Fast in safer hand Held in a truer Land Are mine — And though they now depart, Tell I my doubting heart They're thine. In a serener Bright, In a more golden light I see Each little doubt and fear, Each little discord here Removed. Then will I not repine, Knowing tha 5 I have a Bird in spring Which for myself doth sing — The spring decoys. And as the summer nears — And as the Rose appears, Robin is gone. Yet do I not repine Knowing that Bird of mine Though flown — Learneth beyond the sea Melody new for me And will return. Fast in safer hand Held in a truer Land Are mine — And though they now depart, Tell I my doubting heart They're thine. In a serener Bright, In a more golden light I see Each little doubt and fear, Each little discord here Removed. Then will I not repine, Knowing that Bird of mine Though flown Shall in distant tree Bright melody for me Return. April 6, 2020

  19. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    I love Dickinson. More specifically, I love the sense of balance I feel when reading any of her poems. Her poetry has light within its overwhelming darkness; it is straightforward yet subtle. Its originality is sometimes even startling. I have learned so much in reading her work but the most powerful of lessons I take from Dickinson is to "Tell all the truth but tell it slant... The Truth must dazzle gradually/ Or every man be blind." I love Dickinson. More specifically, I love the sense of balance I feel when reading any of her poems. Her poetry has light within its overwhelming darkness; it is straightforward yet subtle. Its originality is sometimes even startling. I have learned so much in reading her work but the most powerful of lessons I take from Dickinson is to "Tell all the truth but tell it slant... The Truth must dazzle gradually/ Or every man be blind."

  20. 5 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

    Running upwards of 1,700 poems, there's no conceivable way I could read them all. I settled for maybe half. That's not to say I'm not tempted to read them all, but Dickinson is one of those fine poets who begin to run a little stale after the first 200 or so poems. Best to step off and return to it later. Don't get me wrong, her innovative poetics is almost ghastly in its profundity, so much so that people use words like 'profundity' or say that she, who had no powers of prescience that her biogr Running upwards of 1,700 poems, there's no conceivable way I could read them all. I settled for maybe half. That's not to say I'm not tempted to read them all, but Dickinson is one of those fine poets who begin to run a little stale after the first 200 or so poems. Best to step off and return to it later. Don't get me wrong, her innovative poetics is almost ghastly in its profundity, so much so that people use words like 'profundity' or say that she, who had no powers of prescience that her biographers are aware of, 'anticipated modernity', whatever that means. That means nothing. We don't need to place her. I think she was beyond that. Still is. Her poetry is almost drunken--staccato and broken and weird and refusing. In short, wonderful.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Rogers

    I will be returning to Dickinson's poetry frequently, "my perennial nest" I will be returning to Dickinson's poetry frequently, "my perennial nest"

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    The pages hold beauty, truth and a sly kind of humor...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    The first time I consciously had contact with Emily Dickinson's poetry was when author and illustrator Chris Riddell posted one of his beautiful sketches on facebook decorating one of her poems. After that I knew I had to have a collection of her works. Then I discovered the World Cloud Classics and it was the perfect edition in my opinion (this being the 3rd I have now). I must say that I love poetry, always have, and although I don't always favour the kind of analysis being done in school (we al The first time I consciously had contact with Emily Dickinson's poetry was when author and illustrator Chris Riddell posted one of his beautiful sketches on facebook decorating one of her poems. After that I knew I had to have a collection of her works. Then I discovered the World Cloud Classics and it was the perfect edition in my opinion (this being the 3rd I have now). I must say that I love poetry, always have, and although I don't always favour the kind of analysis being done in school (we all had to get through that), I do see and acknowledge autobiographical elements in works. Here, as with Walt Whitman for example, it is remarkable that isolation and sickness resulted in the most fruitful creative period. What always gets to me is the tragedy of such lives and that in many cases (as with Emily Dickinson) none or only a handful of the works were being published / recognized while the author was alive, the true impact and significance of the works to be discovered only later. And now for the poems themselves: Amazing as it might be considering that the author spent almost all of her life indoors, her poems are of a wide range. Not actually knowing much of the world around her didn't stop her from writing about it (her favourite themes being nature and love, death and immortality, but also renunciation). The prose is beautiful, I have no other word for it. To me it seemed like she must have been a quiet person but very intelligent and with powerful words; everyday-words artfully crafted into profound messages. I guess that is what I love so much about her. Example: „To make a prairie it takes a clover and a bee, one clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few.” One of my teachers once said "The shorter the story, the more important every single word." and Emily Dickinson is proving that. Another example of a short poem that still has full impact: "A word is dead When it is said, Some say - I say it just Begins to live That day." Or: "I never saw a moor, I never saw the sea, Yet know I how the Heather looks And what a wave must be." I could have included all those poems as pictures but somehow enjoyed tiping them myself. Yeah, I'm weird like that. Also, I could go on like this forever since there wasn't a single poem I really disliked, but the following one shall conclude my review since you are probably all getting my point. It's the poem docarated by Chris Riddell's illustration that started it all.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    I've read a fair bit of her poetry and all I can say is that it astounds me, seduces me, challenges me, enlightens me. I can't lay claim to being any kind of expert but I love her vision, her way of seeing, her developing a highly idiosyncratic personal language that is informed by previous poetic tradition but that resolutely bends the note and pushes it forward. "Making it new" before it was cool, before they even had a name for it. I'm actually kind of hesitant to read more of her because I I've read a fair bit of her poetry and all I can say is that it astounds me, seduces me, challenges me, enlightens me. I can't lay claim to being any kind of expert but I love her vision, her way of seeing, her developing a highly idiosyncratic personal language that is informed by previous poetic tradition but that resolutely bends the note and pushes it forward. "Making it new" before it was cool, before they even had a name for it. I'm actually kind of hesitant to read more of her because I think I'm not ready yet...her power is exhausting and exhaustive...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristopher

    I would highly, highly recommend strolling through Dickinson's collected verse. She's a (surprisingly) highly underrated poet. Going deep into her entire collection will unearth unknown gems as well as old favorites. This edition, organized chronologically, allows the opportunity to study her growth as a poet and explore her obsessions over time. It also provides the date of first publication (if there was one). A must-have for any poetry enthusiast, highly recommended for those who have a modes I would highly, highly recommend strolling through Dickinson's collected verse. She's a (surprisingly) highly underrated poet. Going deep into her entire collection will unearth unknown gems as well as old favorites. This edition, organized chronologically, allows the opportunity to study her growth as a poet and explore her obsessions over time. It also provides the date of first publication (if there was one). A must-have for any poetry enthusiast, highly recommended for those who have a modest interest in poetry since it collects all of the poetry of one of America's most influential, accessible, and subtly complex poets.

  26. 5 out of 5

    L

    "I found the words to every thought I ever had - but One - And that - defies Me - As a Hand did try to chalk the Sun To Races - nurtured in the Dark - How would your Own - begin? Can Blaze be shown in Cochineal - Or Noon - in Mazarin?" "I found the words to every thought I ever had - but One - And that - defies Me - As a Hand did try to chalk the Sun To Races - nurtured in the Dark - How would your Own - begin? Can Blaze be shown in Cochineal - Or Noon - in Mazarin?"

  27. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    A brilliant and one-of-a-kind poet!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Langstaff

    The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson Thomas H. Johnson, ed.--The Definitive Text, Accept No Substitute (c) Copyright 2012 Margaret Langstaff. All rights reserved. [from the forthcoming Reading Emily Dickinson by Margaret Langstaff] So often misunderstood and ill-served by her editors and publishers, Emily Dickinson is a rara avis among major American poets. She shunned the spotlight, kept to herself and her family in her home in Amherst, MA, refusing to cater to popular tastes. She never publishe The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson Thomas H. Johnson, ed.--The Definitive Text, Accept No Substitute (c) Copyright 2012 Margaret Langstaff. All rights reserved. [from the forthcoming Reading Emily Dickinson by Margaret Langstaff] So often misunderstood and ill-served by her editors and publishers, Emily Dickinson is a rara avis among major American poets. She shunned the spotlight, kept to herself and her family in her home in Amherst, MA, refusing to cater to popular tastes. She never published in her lifetime, made in fact only a few overtures to editors who were so staid and conventional that they hadn't the insight or imagination to appreciate her originality. Yet on her death she left a dresser drawer-full of thousands of poems, variant versions, snippets, notes, a massive welter of handwritten manuscripts that required a herculean effort to sort and assemble into the works she considered "poetry" and to file the detritus as "jottings, random thoughts, random expostulations." Not until this definitive edition of her texts appeared in 1955, edited by the scrupulous, meticulous textual scholar and Dickinson expert Thomas H Johnson, did this poet get a fair shake and accurate representation in print of her life's work. Sadly most of what is parlayed online and in stores as her "poetry" is still butchered, and only amounts to sanitized, "regularized" versions of what she actually wrote, and the unsuspecting reader is none the wiser unless he or she happens to have studied Dickinson under a knowledgeable instructor or at the university level. If you want to read and understand her work, this edition of her poems must be the basis for your appreciation and judgment, and none other. All of her other so-called "editors" changed her meter, spellings, capitalizations (all of which were "odd" yet deliberate departures from the norm for poetic effect). I also highly recommend Richard B. Sewell's incomparable biography, The Life of Emily Dickinson. Immensely readable, even compelling, and bristling with telling details that place the poet within the context of her times and New England heritage, it gives one an even deeper appreciation of what she overcame ("renounced") to pursue her art, and illuminates dimensions and aspects of the poems otherwise hidden to the modern reader. I've studied Dickinson for over 30 years and written articles and a few books on her work and life, and I must say to any new reader: don't fall for the stereotypes, the cliches, and the b.s. aplenty that have always clouded her reputation and led the general public astray. Read deeply and see for yourself. Start by reading the "real" thing. Her finished poems as she wrote them, not as her editors "corrected" them and not the snippets and notes she made to herself to possibly work into poems. Both as an individual and as a poet she will always remain elusive, but then she believed in the mystery at the heart of life herself, considered her own life a mystery, but tried to approach the essence and experience of the luminous "mysterium tremendum et fascinans" by capturing its beauty and profundity with metaphor and lyric. Her Letters are also a treat, a treasure, for she was a devoted, loyal friend and tireless witty letter writer all of her life. Her epistolary style reflects to some degree her poetic penchants and inclinations, highly metaphorical, striking, surprising. In some ways they (the letters) are even more revealing of how she interacted with those whom she loved the most and are most telling of the qualities of her character and resonant of(if not fully disclosing) the particular pivotal events of her life. Certainly she was one of a kind, far more sophisticated and worldly than most think even today, shrewd, widely read, a critical insightful reader and observer of life's conundrums and vagaries, current events, including the Civil War, the issues of the day... Anyone who has read her seriously would be hard put to find a comparable poet or life in literature or body of work. Yes, other poets (one thinks of Hopkins, Roethke, literally hundreds of other poets in many ages), have shared her intuitions and, to a certain extent her insights, but none have produced lasting verse in her singular aphoristic and numinous style. As for myself, I cannot even think of any poet or body of poetry that "reminds me of Emily Dickinson" or is "reminiscent of Emily Dickinson." Nor is it easy or plausible to suggest she was significantly influenced by any particular poetic tradition or other poet, though she read widely and deeply, and occasionally reverentially, the works of all the major poets in English. Dickinson's uniqueness, her very singularity, inimitability, is (I believe) the hallmark of only the greatest poets, and by that measure it is safe to say she will be read and appreciated, at last, for a long, long time. Margaret Langstaff, April 2012

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Lola

    Emily Dickinson is objectively the best poet in all of American literature and if someone ever attacked her work in my presence I would have to defend her as if she were my favorite.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Disappointing overall. She certainly had a particular voice and style, and I can see why it would appeal to some. I found her poems to be very repetitive and didn’t find much that stood out to me. There was one exception: Tell all the truth but tell it slant — Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth's superb surprise As Lightning to the Children eased With explanation kind The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind — Disappointing overall. She certainly had a particular voice and style, and I can see why it would appeal to some. I found her poems to be very repetitive and didn’t find much that stood out to me. There was one exception: Tell all the truth but tell it slant — Success in Circuit lies Too bright for our infirm Delight The Truth's superb surprise As Lightning to the Children eased With explanation kind The Truth must dazzle gradually Or every man be blind —

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