Emily Dickinson

December 10, 1830 - May 15, 1886

She lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life, Emily Dickinson was born to a successful family with strong community ties. She spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female  Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst, after she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth. However, had an enormous impact on her poetry, was the people who she did come in contact with. Whom she first met on a trip to Philadelphia, she was particularly stirred by Reverend Charles Wadsworth. Some critics believe his departure gave rise to the heartsick flow of verse from Dickinson in the years that followed and he left for the West Coast shortly after a visit to her home in 1860. It was not clear that their relationship was romantic- she called him "my closest earthly friend," while it is certain that he was an important figure in her life.

She was not publicly recognized during her lifetime, even though Dickinson was extremely prolific as a poet and regularly enclosed poems in letters to friends. In 1890, the first volume of her work was published posthumously and her last one in 1955. Emily Dickinson died in Amherst in 1886. Dickinson's family discovered forty handbound volumes of nearly 1,800 poems, or "fascicles" as they are sometimes called, upon her death. Copying what seems the be final version of poems, Dickinson assembled these booklets by folding and sewing five or six sheets of stationary paper. Who removed her unusual and varied dashes and replacing them with real punctuation, the poems were initially unbound and published according to the aesthetics of her many early editors.

"A Bird Came Down"
by: Emily Dickinson

"A bird came down the walk:

He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle-worm 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 abroad,--
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, splashless, as they swim."