Emily Dickinson, Emily Dickinson poetry, Secular or Eclectic, Secular or Eclectic poetry,  poetry,  poetry, Christian poetry Emily Dickinson
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Secular or Eclectic
Christian : Protestant

Poems by Emily Dickinson
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Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 to a prominent family in Amherst, Massachusetts. Few of her poems were published during her lifetime, the bulk of her poetry having been discovered after her death in the 1880s. Despite this anonymity during her lifetime, Dickinson has come to be regarded as one of the greatest of American poets. Her unusual use of rhyme, meter, and grammar anticipates modernist trends in 20th century poetry.

She attended Amherst Academy and a year at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.

While at the seminary, Dickinson famously refused to participate in the show of evangelical conversion sweeping through her community at the time. Much of her poetry, however, meditates on heaven and the inner life, often contrasting the private moment against public religious convention. She was clearly a critic of the common practice of religion, leading many to casually label her as an atheist, yet there is no denying that she experienced a rich inner life that she understood in religious terms. While unconventional by the religious standards of her day, the argument can be made that she was a deep mystic. If one reads her poetry side-by-side with the poet-saints of India, for example, the parallels in metaphoric language and insight become obvious.

Following her return from Mount Holyoke, Emily Dickinson almost never left Amherst again, rarely even leaving the grounds of her family home. Later in life she took to dressing entirely in white.

Much is made of Dickinson's reclusive life, the fact that she never married, and the focus on death in much of her poetry, leading to descriptions of her as a morbid, sexually repressed recluse. One can see her in this way; or, recognizing the depth of her mysticism, we can suggest that she cultivated a self-defined monastic life of contemplation and poetry.

Poems by Emily Dickinson

Recommended Books: Emily Dickinson

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry
Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words American Triptych: Anne Bradstreet, Emily Dickinson, and Adrienne Rich Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson Dickinson: Poems: Everyman's Pocket Library Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief: (Library of Religious Biography)
Emily Dickinson: Poetry as Prayer Emily Dickinson: (Radcliffe Biography Series) Emily Dickinson: Selected Poems Emily Dickinson: Selected Poems (Audio Book) Poems and Letters Emily Dickinson (Audio Book)
My Wars Are Laid Away in Books: The Life of Emily Dickinson

Related Links

The Dickinson Electronic Archives

On-line resource for writings by Emily Dickinson and other members of the Dickinson family. Some areas are (frustratingly) "access restricted."
Emily Dickinson