On This Day

Emily Dickinson

Poet Emily Dickinson

Profession: Poet

United States of America

Biography: Although largely unpublished during her own lifetime, Emily Dickinson became famous for her unique form of poems and is now considered a major American poet.

Her life of seclusion on a New England farm has been recreated by the detailed study of her letters. Tragedy in Emily's family and in the lives of her correspondents were the influence for themes of death and immortality that reoccur throughout her poetry.

Her unconventional uses of punctuation and meter was too alienating for the publishers of her time, resulting in the few of her poems that did make it into print being heavily edited to fit conventional tastes in rhyme and structure. However with the advent of the literary movement modernism in the early 20th century, this aspect of her writing was celebrated as truly innovative.

Born: December 10, 1830
Birthplace: Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
Star Sign: Sagittarius

Died: May 15, 1886 (aged 55)
Cause of Death: Nephritis

Historical Events

  • 1862-04-15 American poet Emily Dickinson first corresponds with author and future literary mentor Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a relationship that lasts the rest of her life
  • 1890-11-12 Mabel Loomis Todd publishes the first edition of "Poems by Emily Dickinson"

Quotes by Emily Dickinson

  • "Old age comes on suddenly, and not gradually as is thought." - Age
  • "If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Poetry
  • "Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality." - Love

Biographies and Sources

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