For a woman who’s known as one of the greatest poets who ever lived, she didn’t do a lot of remarkable things when she was alive. She was raised in Amherst and rarely left that town, had many dear friends, wrote a lot of letters, wrote even more poetry that no one saw, was anonymously published only a handful of times during her lifetime, and died in her mid-50s. She championed no causes and left no journal but what she did leave was a secret treasure trunk of nearly 2000 poems.
That’s when Emily’s life got interesting.
When her poems were finally published, people wanted to know about this woman. Surely she had lived a remarkable life to have created such a bounty of word beauty!
That’s when people started filling in the blanks with myth and conjecture, and when her poems were finally published they were not, exactly her poems. The drama surrounding that is almost worthy of its own episode!
Emily Dickinson died in the same house she was born in, in the room where she wrote (and hid) her poetry, on May 15, 1886. She was buried in the Dickinson family plot with a simple marker mirroring her simple life: “E.E.D.” And consistent with her afterlife, her niece replaced it with a much larger one with her details and “Called back” engraved on the face.
Time Travel With The History Chicks
There is also the Complete Works of Emily Dickinson edited by Mabel Loomis Todd or here on Project Gutenburg or the Collected Works with an intro by her niece, Martha Dickinson Biachi, if you can find it.
The Emily Dickinson Museum, at the Homestead and Evergreens in Amherst, Massachusetts, is currently closed for renovations until spring of 2022, but go poke around online, they do have some resources–you can virtually tour Emily’s room! The Tell it Slant Poetry festival is online in September, get more info HERE.
The Poetry Foundation has, of course, many of Emily’s poems as well as other information related to poetry, you can start here, EMILY DICKINSON and if you scroll down to the bottom of the biography/poetry lesson you can be linked to her work.
JAMA Ophthalmology Journal, an article about Emily’s eyesight issues.
There are several looks at Emily’s life, including the most recent-an anachronistic version- Dickinson, on AppleTV.
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FIELD TRIP!! Join us- Beckett and Susan- in New England in October of 2022 for a tour of Boston and Newport! We’ll visit mansions, homes, museums, take a harbor cruise or two…all with former subjects in mind! More information is here at LIKE MINDS TRAVEL!
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