Thought of as one of the most important American poets, Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830. She lived a mostly reclusive and introverted life, and was considered eccentric by neighbours. Mostly unpublished during her lifetime, Emily left a large body of work. She eschewed poetic conventions and when her work was published it was often amended. Judith Farr commented that during her lifetime, Dickinson, “was known more widely as a gardener, perhaps, than as a poet”.
Dickinson died in 1886 of what her doctor called Brights disease. Her sister Lavinia kept her promise to burn her private correspondence, but worked to have the poems that Emily had collected and organised published. Dickinson has remained continuously in print since 1890.
Read a selection of Emily Dickinson poems