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Emily Dickinson - Life and Poetry

Emily Dickinson, now considered to be one of the greatest American poets, lived a very secluded life. How is it possible to produce such wonderful poetry, that generations of people can relate to, if you are solitary and never travel?

Emily Dickinson. Foto.

A Life of Seclusion

Emily Dickinson (1830 - 1886) was an American poet who was born in Massachusetts. She grew up in a successful family with strong community ties, but she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. Among the locals she was considered an eccentric, and she became known for her reluctance to greet guests and for always wearing white clothing. In her later life she hardly ever left her room, and her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence.

Her Poetry

Dickinson was a private poet, and very few of her poems were published during her lifetime. After her death, her sister found nearly eighteen hundred poems stashed away in a bureau drawer. Emily Dickinson's poems are characterized by short lines, and they most often lack titles. The poems often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with the themes of death and immortality.

Listen to the song performed by Quoting Napoleon while watching slides about Emily Dickinson and her poetry. (You Tube: Emily Dickinson Tribute Song)

Tasks and Activities


  1. How would you describe Emily Dickinson's life and personality?
  2. Emily Dickinson often wore a white dress. Why do you think she did this? What does this color symbolize?
  3. Do you think the music they have chosen fits the content? Why/why not?

Poems and Tasks

Hope Is the Thing with Feathers. I'm a Nobody. Who Are You?

Sist oppdatert 23.05.2018
Skrevet av Eli M. Huseby


American Literature in the 19th Century