Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
Regarded as one of America’s greatest poets, is also well known for her unusual life of self imposed social seclusion. Living a life of simplicity and seclusion, she yet wrote poetry of great power; questioning the nature of immortality and death, with at times an almost romantric quality. Her different lifestyle created an aura; often romanticised, and frequently a source of interest and speculation. But ultimately Emily Dickinson is remembered for her unique poetry. Within short, compact phrases she expressed far-reaching ideas; amidst paradox and uncertainty her poetry has an undeniable capacity to move and provoke.
Ten or so poems were published in her lifetime, mostly without her consent. She often included poems with letters but, after her death, the poet’s sister Vinnie, was surprised to find almost eighteen hundred individual poems in Dickinson’s bedroom. Emily Dickinson's first book of poems was published in 1890. Read more...
Part One: Life VI
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain
From: Complete Poems, 1924