“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry”
Emily Dickinson, 1870
Photo by Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
For my eminent project this year I am doing Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson is a famous American poet that lived in the 1880s. She wrote mainly lyric poems and was part of the romantic style movement in poetry. She was never recognized for her work when she was alive, but her poems became popular when they were published after her death.
Emily Dickinson is eminent because of her effect on the poetry world. She was pushing what was conventional in multiple aspects of her poetry. One of the first noticeable features of her poems was her use of dashes instead of more normalized punctuation in poetry. Emily Dickinson also had a very distinct writing style. She would explain bigger concepts using ideas that most people are already familiar with. This way of writing shows off how observant she could be and her unique way of looking at the world. Emily’s writing has shown that it is important to keep pushing what we see as the norm in writing to be able to look at concepts in different ways. I think it’s safe to say that Emily Dickinson has had a big effect on our world. Her experimentation with the standard lyric poem’s rhyme and line format has made her one of the most influential poets to come from America. Emily Dickinson’s poems have been appreciated for a century and a half now and I believe they will continue to be because of how distinct they are. Although, Emily Dickinson did face an obstacle and that was a lack of recognition. She would send her work to friends and family, but it is believed she never had her work published. It is likely that she was not published because her work was not conventional at the time. Even though there wasn’t any kind of acknowledgment for her work she persevered with her writing. She spent a lot of her time in her room writing poetry and binding her poems into books because it was her passion. I chose Emily Dickinson instead of another poet because I love the way she writes. I find her point of view in her poetry interesting as well as her different uses of rhyme and punctuation because it adds her own touch to the poems.
Emily Dickinson interests me because of her work in poetry and her life. I feel a connection to what she writes about because she has a clear point of view in her poems adding lots of details. I do not know a lot about poetry yet and would love to learn more about it. Specifically, I want to learn more about the lyric poem that Emily uses. The lyric poems connect to my passion for music because they have famously been paired with music. The poems involve writing about feelings, and I appreciate vulnerability in writing. I am also doing Emily Dickinson because I can connect to the fact, she never wanted to conform to what society told her she should do. Emily never got married and never wanted to spend her life as a housewife like she was expected to, being a woman because she was committed to spending her life doing what she truly enjoyed. Emily Dickinson shows a lot of observational skills in her writing and I feel a connection to that because I love writing more observational-based works. There is one barrier I face as I go into this project and that is the fact that Emily Dickinson lived in a very different time. During this project, it will be important for me to gain more knowledge about what it was like in the 1800s so that I can better understand her.
My goals for the next part of this project are to get a better understanding of lyric poem conventions and a better understanding of what living in the 1880s was like. Understanding the conventions of a lyric poem will help me be able to see when Emily Dickinson breaks these conventions. Getting to know the time period better will help me think about how she interacted with the world more.
This link here has a list of Emily Dickinson poems if you scroll down to the bottom of the website. If you are interested, you could check out one or two here.
About Emily Dickinson. (n.d.). Academy of American Poets. https://poets.org/poet/emily-dickinson.
Emily Dickinson. (2021). Poetry Foundation. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/emily-dickinson.
Ratcliffe, S. Emily Dickinson. (2016). Oxford Essential Quotations. https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780191826719.001.0001/q-oro-ed4-00003636.
Major Characteristics of Dickinson’s Poetry. (2021). Emily Dickinson Museum. https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/emily-dickinson/poetry/tips-for-reading/major-characteristics-of-dickinsons-poetry/.