This is my letter to the world,That never wrote to me,--The simple news that Nature told,With tender majesty.Her message is committedTo hands I cannot see;For love of her, sweet countrymen,Judge tenderly of me!
BiographyBorn December 10, 1830 in Amherst, MAEducated at Amherst AcademyAt 17, began college at Mount Holyoke FemaleSeminary; she became ill the spring of her firstyear and did not returnShe would leave home only for short trips for theremainder of her life, leading scholars to speculateshe may have been agoraphobic
Was She Weird?Known for being a recluse, she didn’t leaveher family’s homestead for any reason afterthe late 1860’s.She almost always wore white.She often lowered snacks and treats inbaskets to neighborhood children from herwindow, careful never to let them see herface.
Dickinson’s PoetryRegular meter—hymn meter and balladmeter, also known as Common meter– Quatrains– Alternating tetrameter and trimeter– Often 1st and 3rd lines rhyme, 2nd and 4th lines rhyme in iambic pentameterThe use of dashesInfluenced by nature and spiritual themes
Dickinson’s Publishing CareerSent poems to Thomas WentworthHigginson, a literary critic and familyfriend.He recognized her talent, but tried to“improve” them, which made Dickinsonlose interest.At the time of her death, only seven of herpoems had been published.
Posthumous Publication and Legacy After her death, her poems were heavily edited and published by Higginson and friend Mabel Loomis Todd. Thomas Johnson produced a collection of Dickinson’s more than 1700 poems in three volumes in 1955; he restored her original capitalization and punctuation. Along with Walt Whitman, Dickinson is one of the two giants of American poetry of the 19th century.