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The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

by Emily Dickinson

I find ecstasy in living—the mere sense of living is joy enough.


Emily Dickinson, age 16 (Courtesy of Amherst College Archives and Special Collections)

Collected Poetry

The three-volume Variorum edition of The Poems of Emily Dickinson, edited by R. W. Franklin (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1998), is the most reliable edition of Dickinson’s collected poems. The paperback “Reading Edition” of this collection is suggested for teachers, librarians, and the general reader (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).

Selected Poetry

Recommended editions include Final Harvest, edited by Thomas H. Johnson (New York: Back Bay Books, 1964); The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson (New York: Modern Library, 2004), which includes an introduction by Billy Collins; and Essential Dickinson (New York: Ecco, 1996), which includes an introduction by Joyce Carol Oates.

Most poems used in this guide are on the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Tool. A biography and bibliography are also available there.

Emily Dickinson’s Letters

Johnson, Thomas H., ed. Emily Dickinson: Selected Letters. 1958. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1986.

Website

Visit the Poetry Foundation's website at www.poetryfoundation.org for a biography and bibliography of Dickinson, along with many of her poems.

Biographies and Literary Criticism

Farr, Judith, with Louise Carter. The Gardens of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

Farr, Judith. The Passion of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992.

Habegger, Alfred. My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson. New York: Modern Library, 2001.

Lundin, Roger. Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998.

Martin, Wendy, Ed. The Cambridge Companion to Emily Dickinson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Pollak, Vivian R. A Historical Guide to Emily Dickinson. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Sewall, Richard B. The Life of Emily Dickinson. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998 (Originally published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 1974).

Music

Copland, Aaron. Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson for Voice and Chamber Orchestra. New York: Boosey and Hawkes, 1970.

Play

Luce, William. The Belle of Amherst: A Play based on the Life of Emily Dickinson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1976.

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