Emily Dickinson today has gained her deserved place alongside Walt Whitman as one of the two greatest American poets of the 19th century. Beginning always with particulars of personal experience, her poems encompass life and death, love and longing, joyfulness and sorrow. With sparse, precise language, she conveyed a penetrating vision of the natural world and an acute understanding of the most profound human truths.
The poems included in this collection are grouped by three time periods, 1890, 1891, and 1896, and by the subjects of life, love, nature, and time and eternity.
“If there were ever a poet whose work begged to be heard, it would be Dickinson.” (Library Journal)
“Her poems are remarkable for their condensation, their vividness of image, their delicate or pungent satire and irony, their childlike responsiveness to experience, their subtle feeling for nature…their excellence in imaginative insight and still greater excellence in fancy.” (Cambridge History of American Literature)
“‘I find ecstacy in living,’ she said to Higginson, and spoke truly, as her poems show. In an unexpected light on orchards, in a wistful mood of meadow or wood-border held secure for a moment before it vanished…in the echoes, obscure in origin, that stirred within her own mind and soul, now a tenuous melody, now a deep harmony, a haunting question, or a memorable affirmation - everywhere she displayed something of the mystic’s insight and joy.” (Norman Foerster)
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