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The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

Primary Source Set

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was an American writer who lived during the Civil War and the first wave of feminism, during which women fought for suffrage and other rights. Dickinson lived a famously isolated existence but read widely and used letters to stay connected to the world. Dickinson’s inventive poems experiment with punctuation, syntax, metaphors, and diction to explore themes including nature, freedom, death, power, and faith. Though she published little during her lifetime, Dickinson wrote almost 1,800 poems and hundreds of letters. Today, Dickinson is one of the most read and studied American writers. Dickinson’s innovations in poetic form and examination of unexpected topics inspired writers in future generations, both in the US and around the world; her influence can be seen, for example, in modernist poetry of the twentieth century.

Additional resources for research

  1. Resources, Emily Dickinson Archive.
  2. Emily Dickinson, The Emily Dickinson Museum.
  3. Her Own Society: A new reading of Emily Dickinson,” New Yorker.

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