Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Writers Born Today - Emily Dickinson

It's the birthday of Emily Dickinson, born December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Born into a prominent family, she was educated at Mount Holyoke College, but returned home to take care of the household, as was the custom of the day for unmarried daughters. She rarely left the house and saw few visitors, but wrote over 1800 poems in the years between 1855 and 1886. Only a handful were published during her lifetime. Most of her work was not discovered until after her death. In 1890 a volume of her poetry was published and was an instant best seller. More volumes followed, and today she is considered one of the greatest poets in the English language.

She never marries and although she gained a reputation as a recluse, she was not content just to dust and clean. “God keep me from what they call households,” she exclaimed in a letter to a friend in 1850. She preferred to keep her garden, bake bread and write. The home she grew up in is now the Emily Dickinson Museum.

Because of competing family interests, it took decades for her complete works to finally be published. Much of it can be found online. You can read some of her poetry here and here.

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