National Endowment for the Arts - The Big Read
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)

Schedule/Lesson Plans

This is a suggested teaching schedule for a 10 Day class study of the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Lesson plans and handouts can be downloaded individually by clicking on the name of the file in the schedule below. Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view these files.

Some lesson plans reference an audio guide, which you can stream or download from the Media page.

Day One Focus: Word Choice and the Value of a Dictionary
Day One Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Two
Focus: Biographical Criticism
Day Two Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Three
Focus: The Speaker of a Poem
Day Three Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Four
Focus: Imagery and Personification
Day Four Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Five
Focus: Figurative Language
Day Five Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Six
Focus: Rhythm and Meter
Day Six Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Seven
Focus: Allusion
Day Seven Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Eight
Focus: Analyzing a Poem’s Context
Day Eight Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Nine
Focus: Poetry and Ideas
Day Nine Lesson Plan [PDF]

Day Ten
Focus: What Makes a Poet Great?
Day Ten Lesson Plan [PDF]


Handout 1: Emily Dickinson and the Victorian “Woman Question” [PDF]
Handout 2: Wild Legacies by Diane Thiel [PDF]
Handout 3: Dickinson’s Final Sorrows [PDF]

Download all ten lesson plans and handouts [.zip]

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

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