Friday, June 11, 2010

Great American Literature- Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson was an American poet. She lived most of her life in solitude, writing letters to keep in touch with the outside world. Dickinson wrote nearly eighteen hundred poems, but less than twelve were actually published during her lifetime. The poems that were published were often drastically changed by the publishers. Her poems did not follow the "rules" of poetry during that time. She used unusual capitalization and punctuation, short lines, and slant rhyme. Her poems also often lacked titles. A vast majority of her poems revolved around death and immortality. Though many of her friends and relatives probably knew about her writing, it was not until her death in 1886 that her younger sister discovered her immense collection of poems. In 1890, a couple of friends of Emily published her first collection of poetry. It was, however, altered a great deal. It wasn't until 1955 that a complete and mostly unchanged collection of her poetry was published. Despite the poor reception of her works in the late 19th and early 20th century, Dickinson is now regarded as one of the greatest American poets.

Here is one of her poems:

Because I could not stop for Death--
He kindly stopped for me--
The Carriage held but just Ourselves--
And Immortality.

We slowly drove--He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility--

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess--in the Ring--
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain--
We passed the Setting Sun--

Or rather--He passed us--
The Dews drew quivering and chill--
For only Gossamer, my Gown--
My Tippet--only Tulle--

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground--
The Roof was scarcely visible--
The Cornice--in the Ground--

Since then--'tis Centuries--and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses' Heads
Were toward Eternity--

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