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Emily Dickinson

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Ashly Staley

on 12 May 2017

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Transcript of Emily Dickinson

Background
Writing
Early Life
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson born December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts
The middle of the 3 children of Emily and Samuel Dickinson
Her father was a state legislator and her grandfather the founder of Amhearst College.

Education
Emily was educated at Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.
She did have long absences from school due to illness and bouts of depression
She left the Seminary after only 10 months due to severe homesickness never to return.
Illness and Death
Emily and her sister Lavinia took care of their ailing mother.
As Emily reeled from the deaths of friends and loved ones, she began to suffer from either Agoraphobia (fear of crowded spaces and open places) or depression and anxiety. Regardless of the disease, Emily became reclusive and separated herself from all society. She dreaded leaving the Homestead (her family's home place) and instead stayed there nursing first her mother then her sister.
She died of kidney disease May 15, 1886.
Writing Influences
Dickinson began writing as a teenager
Her earliest influence was Leonard Humphrey, Amherst Academy principal.
Benjamin Franklin Newton, a family friend, introduced Dickinson to the poetry of William Wordsworth and the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson who were an inspiration to the young writer.
In her later years, her brother Austin, supplied her with numerous books.
Writing Life
Though Emily stayed at home physically, her mind was not inactive.
She wandered miles in her mind and wrote thousands of poems about her adventures.
Her family was ignorant of Emily's vast collection of poetry, only a scant 11 poems were published during her life.
Her journals of carefully edited works were found upon her death.
Published to Conventions
The first of Dickinson's works to be published were published in more conventional form, not the way Dickinson originally wrote them.
Her unique style and voice were lost.
As a result, much of the power of Dickinson's work was lost in the original publication.
Saved!
In later secondary publications, in the 1950s, however, Dickinson's original syntax (the arrangement of words and phrases) was restored.
After this publication, her standing as a poet greatly increased and her influence on the poetry of the 20th century cannot be measured!
Dickinson's poetry has a condensed and often mournful tone that evokes a powerful pull on its readers emotions.
This is My Letter to the World
Questions to ask?
What will this letter say?
To whom does “the world” refer?
Why does the speaker of the poem feel the need to write this letter?
What are the “invisible hands,” or to whom do they belong?
Why did he or she write the letter?
What does the speaker hope to accomplish by sharing the letter?
This is My Letter to the World
This is my letter to the World
That never wrote to Me--
The simple News that Nature told--
With tender Majesty

Her Message is committed
To Hands I cannot see--
For love of Her--Sweet--countrymen--
Judge tenderly--of me
This is my letter to the World
That never wrote to Me--
The simple News that Nature told--
With tender Majesty

Her Message is committed
To Hands I cannot see--
For love of Her--Sweet--countrymen--
Judge tenderly--of me
Jot down your answers as you read the poem again.
I Started Early--Took my Dog
I started Early–Took my Dog–
And visited the Sea–
The Mermaids in the Basement
Came out to look at me–
And Frigates– in the Upper Floor
Extended Hempen Hands–
Presuming Me to be a Mouse–
Aground–upon the Sands–

But no Man moved Me–till the Tide
Went past my simple Shoe–
And past my Apron–and my Belt
And past my Boddice–too–
And made as He would eat me up–
As wholly as a Dew
Upon a Dandelion’s Sleeve–
And then—I started—too
And He–He followed–close behind–
I felt His Silver Heel
Upon my Ankle–Then My Shoes
Would overflow with Pearl–

Until We met the Solid Town–
No One He seemed to know–
And bowing– with a Mighty look–
At me–The Sea withdrew–
Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all.
Forever is composed of nows.
Saying nothing...sometimes says the most.
Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.
Beauty is not caused. It is.
Success is counted sweetest by those who never succeed.
The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.

There is no Frigate like a book to take us lands away nor any coursers like a page of prancing Poetry.
Fame is a bee.
It has a song--
It has a sting--
Ah, too, it has a wing.

Death is a Dialogue between
The Spirit and the Dust.

Check out this analysis of the last poem you read:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/learning/guide/237890

When you are finished, be sure to read the quotes around the frame by Dickinson. Which one sticks with you? Which one is your favorite?
Full transcript