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Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

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“Where thou art, that is home”—a quintessential poetic line from one of the most beloved female poets in history. Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts and studied at the Amherst Academy. She also spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.

Dickinson is considered a prolific private poet, but fewer than a dozen of her nearly 1800 poems were published during her lifetime. Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality. Part of this was caused by what she called the “deepening menace” of death of those close to her.

In 1845, Dickinson took part in a religious revival in Amherst, yet she never made a formal declaration of faith and only attended services regularly for a few years. After she stopped going to church she wrote a poem opening: “Some keep the Sabbath going to Church-/I keep it, staying at Home.”

This longing for home included Dickinson withdrawing more and more from the outside world. But in that time she began what would be her lasting legacy; she began making clean copies of her work in manuscript books. They eventually contained nearly 800 poems.





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