Skip to main content Skip to main content

Voices & Visions

Emily Dickinson

Dramatic scenarios and New England landscapes illuminate the passionate genius of Dickinson, whose poems represent a broad range of imaginative experience.

View Transcript

Though Emily Dickinson spent almost all her life in Amherst, Massachusetts, her poems represent a broad range of imaginative experience. They are rich in feeling, wide in their knowledge of nature, books, and geography, and expansive in their vision. Dickinson’s training in science suggests a source for her skill in accurate observation, whether of plants and animals or the workings of her own mind. The greatest effect of her scientific studies, though, is in her experimental attitude about life’s great issues.

Additional Resources

Academy of American Poets

For a succinct site containing a biography, a bibliography, and links to other Dickinson sites, see the Academy of American Poets’ tribute to the poet.

Columbia University’s Bartleby Archive: Emily Dickinson

Misplaced your poetry book? Visit Columbia University’s Project Bartleby Archive for Dickinson’s Poems (Third Series, 1896), edited by Mabel Loomis Todd. A word of caution: the poems collected here were probably heavily edited, as one of her editors described Dickinson’s poetic gait as “spasmodic.”

University of Maryland Reading Room: Emily Dickinson

Visit the University of Maryland’s Women’s Studies Reading Room for 100 selected Dickinson poems. Again, the poems are most likely from heavily edited editions of her poetry.

Emily Dickinson International Society

Although Dickinson spent almost all of her life in Amherst, Massachusetts, her fame is international. This site, co-sponsored and supported by the University of Colorado at Boulder, presents a comprehensive forum for scholarship on Dickinson and her relationship to American poetry and women’s literature.

The Atlantic Monthly: “Emily Dickinson (Un)discovered”

The Atlantic Monthly (to which the Dickinson family subscribed) confesses its initial failure to recognize Dickinson’s poetic genius in Toby Lester’s “Emily Dickinson (Un)discovered.” Lester’s article also contains a link to T.W. Higginson’s “Emily Dickinson’s Letters” (October 1891) which is, in Lester’s words, “a fascinating first-hand account of one of this country’s true poetic geniuses.”

Emily Dickinson’s Letters

The above-mentioned link to T.W. Higginson’s letter in The Atlantic Monthly, this piece from October 1891 details a correspondence described as perhaps “the most provocative and poignant” in the history of American literature.

Susan Howe: “My Emily Dickinson”

For one poet’s candid interpretation of Dickinson’s works, read excerpts from Susan Howe’s “My Emily Dickinson.”