Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

dickinso.jpg (9085 bytes)Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts on December 10, 1839, into a severely religious family that had lived in New England for eight generations. She grew up and went to Amherst Academy and then went to Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, Massachusetts. A high-spirited and active woman, her friends remember her as, "not beautiful, but had great beauties." Her grandfather, Samuel Fowler Dickinson, helped found Amherst Academy in 1814 and Amherst College in 1821. She never married anyone but did fall in love with someone. When she was in her twenties she began to write poetry seriously. By 1858 she was copying her poems in ink and gathering them together in little packet tied with thread. The novelist, Helen Jackson tried to persuade Emily to publish some of her poems but did not succeed. The priest and author, Thomas Wentworth Higginson saw her talent and became her life-long friend and supporter of her work. Her poems often had a certain rhyming skill, through the words were simple.

Her father dominated the household. After her father had died in 1874, she wrote, "His heart was pure and terrible and I think no other like it exists." Sadly, she died in Cambridge in 1866. After her death, nearly 1800 of her poems were printed and published. She has many famous poems. One of them was "A Soft Sea Washed Around The House."

Her poems are about her life, her future and her view of life. Emily Dickinson’s poems and style of writing influenced later American poets. And that’s the Emily Elizabeth Dickinson we all know.


Poems from Emily Dickinson:

A Soft Sea Washed Around the House

A soft sea washed around the house,
A sea of summer air,
And rose and fell the magic planks
That sailed without a care.
For captain was the butterfly,
For helmsman was the bee,
And an entire universe
For the delighted crew.

I think this poem means a girl imagining her house is a ship and all the passengers are insects.

I Dwell in Possibility

I dwell in possibility
A fairer house than Prose,
More numerous of windows,
Superior of doors.
Of chambers, as the cedars-
Impregnable of eye;
And for an everlasting roof
The gables of the sky.
Of visitors-the-fairest-
The occupation-this-
The spreading wide my narrow hands
To gather Paradise.

I think this poem is about how wonderful and interesting life is to Emily Dickinson. I also think that Dickinson is saying how interesting it is to write poems about life.

1999, by Gabe, third grade