December 10, 1830-May 15, 1886, Amherst, MA
Emily Dickinson was born into a successful and wealthy family. She lived a very isolated and secluded life. After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst. She didn't like to greet guests at the door, and eventually rarely left her room.
While Dickinson was a private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime. The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the poetic rules of the time. Dickinson's poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as odd capitalization and punctuation. Many of her poems deal with themes of death, love and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends.
"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.