Poetry is a method of expression. Conveying an exemplary idea within a few lines is a work of art. There exist famous literary connoisseurs in the field of literature. One of them is Emily Dickinson. She is one of the most important literary figures in American poetry. She wrote over 1800 poems in her lifetime and many were published. Additionally, Dickinson wrote various poems posthumously. She is known to write unconventional poems. Furthermore, she is a great inspiration to her poetic followers.
Today, we uncover her life. From her early childhood to her poetic journey we unearth it step by step:
Emily Dickinson was born to Edward and Emily Dickinson on December 10th, 1830. Additionally, she was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. She came from a well-known family as her father was the Trustee of Amherst College. Very early on in her life, Dickinson was drawn towards writing. Her biggest influence was Benjamin Franklin Newton, a young attorney she was friends with. Moreover, it is believed it was Franklin who introduced her to famous poets such as William Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson. This was only the beginning of Emily’s poetic voyage.
The time frame of Emily’s Poetry:
Dickinson’s writing is separated into three different time frames. All her poems from different years have common features. The time frames were as follows:
Emily’s poems were guided by sentiment. In addition to that, she wrote standardized poetry. Two of her poems from this time were humorous writings and the other two were about her brother. She wrote the latter while she was missing her brother, Austin. The last poem she wrote in this period was yet again guided by emotion. This poem portrayed grief.
2.1861 to 1865:
Firstly, these four years her most creative years. She produced multiple poems. Furthermore, they represented her strength in writing poems. She composed over 750 poems in just five years. Secondly, these were the years where she developed her major themes for her poetry. Lastly, her poems revolved around life and mortality.
These were her final writing years. She barely wrote after this time frame.
Emily’s Writing Style:
Dickinson is known for her usage of syntax and hyphens. She also majorly uses unorthodox capitalization in her poetry. Emily presents her audience with quirky stanzas. She also uses a distinctive vocabulary.
Her poetry uses a common rhyming scheme. This scheme is ABCB. In other words, the second and fourth line of every stanza is rhyming. One can see a recurring ballad stanza in her writing style. Dickinson also uses punctuations to her heart’s content. Although a different approach, Emily had a distinguished perspective towards her work.
Famous Works By Emily:
1. “I taste a liquor never brewed”
As mentioned earlier, Dickinson did not believe in the traditional forms of writing poetry. Additionally, she did not even live a conventional life. In this poem, the audience notices her immense love for rhyme. It displays her non-conformist behavior. She uses rhyming words that do not rhyme. Furthermore, she uses alternatives for sentences. This poem tells us about how Emily viewed the world. One can see the usage of one of her main themes. She talks about nature. Additionally, she makes references to fruits. She also talks about butterflies and endless summer days.
2. “Success is Counted Sweetest”
In this poem, Emily Dickinson addresses success and fame. She mentions in the first stanza how fame affects people who never succeed. This was one of her rare poems where she did not use her usual rhyme scheme. This poem is about human fantasies. They represent the greed man possesses. She in barely three stanzas puts forth the boons and banes of fame. She brilliantly asks her audience to not let fame get to their head. Scholars believe that this was also a reflection of her own life story.
3. “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain”
This is one of the most radical poems by Emily Dickinson. It talks about mental health. This poem stands out as it was highly unconventional to talk about mental issues in those times. She starts her poem on a highly impactful note.
She says, “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading- treading- till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through”
These lines show the mindset of someone dealing with depression. One can also see the heavy usage of capitalization and hyphens.
4. “A Bird, came down the Walk”:
This is one of Emily’s uncomplicated poems. She is not as cryptic. This poem is yet again about nature. She talks about a time when she saw a bird. Moreover, she describes the journey the bird took, from eating a worm to drinking due on grass. This poem has a musicality to it. Dickinson follows her usual rhyming scheme. This form of poetry is perfect for her young readers.
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