The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

Front Cover
Little, Brown, 1960 - Poetry - 770 pages
545 Reviews
While it is today universally acknowledged that Dickinson was a poet of the highest order, the startling originality of her poems doomed her work to obscurity in her own lifetime. Early posthumous publication efforts -- including the 1924 Complete Poems edited by the poet's niece and published by Little, Brown -- did not fully and fairly represent Dickinson's bold experiments in prosody, her tragic vision, or the range of her intellectual and emotional explorations. Not until the publication of Harvard University Press's 1955 The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, comprising three hardcover volumes edited by Thomas H. Johnson, were readers able to understand and appreciate Dickinson's entire oeuvre.

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Review: The Complete Poems

User Review  - Goodreads

I'm sure this deserved five stars, but I had such a hard time understanding her poetry, that I felt like it would be disingenuous to give it five stars. That having been said, of the poems I did understand, I got a lot out of them – especially her poetry about life and death. Read full review

Review: The Complete Poems

User Review  - Goodreads

Another one I pick up frequently. Dickinson is not easy. I had to look up lots of words because they've cycled out of modern use. She also references scripture, greek mythology and literature, and ... Read full review

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About the author (1960)

Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts on December 10, 1830. Although one of America's most acclaimed poets, the bulk of her work was not published until well after her death on May 15, 1886. The few poems published in her lifetime were not received with any great fanfare. After her death, Dickinson's sister Lavinia found over 1,700 poems Emily had written and stashed away in a drawer -- the accumulation of a life's obsession with words. Critics have agreed that Dickinson's poetry was well ahead of its time. Today she is considered one of the best poets of the English language. Except for a year spent at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Dickinson spent her entire life in the family home in Amherst, Massachusetts. She never married and began to withdraw from society, eventually becoming a recluse. Dickinson's poetry engages the reader and requires his or her participation. Full of highly charged metaphors, her free verse and choice of words are best understood when read aloud. Dickinson's punctuation and capitalization, not orthodox by Victorian standards and called "spasmodic" by her critics, give greater emphasis to her meanings.

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