Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

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by Emily Dickinson

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Many of Emily Dickinson's poems have been reprinted in anthologies, selections, textbooks for recitation, and they have increasingly found their elect and been best interpreted by the expansion of those lives they have seized upon by force of their natural, profound intuition of the miracles of every day Life, Love, and Death.

She herself was of the part of life


Many of Emily Dickinson's poems have been reprinted in anthologies, selections, textbooks for recitation, and they have increasingly found their elect and been best interpreted by the expansion of those lives they have seized upon by force of their natural, profound intuition of the miracles of every day Life, Love, and Death.

She herself was of the part of life that is always youth, always magical. She wrote of it as she grew to know it, step by step, discovery by discovery, truth by truth - until time merely became eternity.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Poetry for Young People series attempts to straddle the school and trade markets with these two volumes about America's best-known New England poets, but the results are uneven. Frost is superb, the poems introduced in a tone that is informative but not pedantic. Robert Frost's best work is organized into seasonal categories; an italicized gloss for each poem unobtrusively explains references and highlights themes. Sorensen's sketchy watercolors ground each poem in Frost's world of pastures, rose pogonias and yellow woods. Bolin's biographical interpretation of Emily Dickinson, on the other hand, is both coy and condescending. The reader is told, for example, that ``Emily may have seemed to some like a real `nobody' [but] inside she knew she was somebody special.'' Chung's illustrations combine Holly Hobbie-style children with trite ornamentation; a rainbow springs from the center of a lily to accompany ``A word is dead'' while a pea pod containing heart-shaped peas illustrates other verse. Each book includes a brief biography of the poet and a short index. Ages 10-up. (Dec.)
Library Journal
McNeil attempts an understanding of Dickinson by casting a diverse net of critical theories. Specifically, Derrida's theory of ``difference,'' de Man's on ``the artist,'' and Freud's on primary words; ``dualism'' philosophy; ``the Orphic'' poetic tradition; poets from Poe to Eliot to Ginsbergall are used as hooks to snag the ever elusive Emily. But just as she eluded her mentor, Higginson, over a century ago, Dickinson eludes contemporary critics. Though McNeil's modern anatomized reading of the poems is the exact opposite of Higginson's Victorianly obtuse rendering, it is as ineffective in capturing the truth of Dickinson's poetic genius. Dickinson is ultimately contorted by the pressure to say something different about her oft-cited themesthemes previously and more distinctly interpreted by others. Domenica Paterno, Lehman Coll., CUNY, Bronx, N.Y.
School Library Journal
Gr 3 UpFrost satisfies in every way; Dickinson does not. Bolin's four-page introduction describes and explains Emily Dickinson's odd life style and creative productivity. This is followed by 36 poems loosely arranged by the topics of hope, death, and poetry. This organization, however, is not readily apparent; nor is the reasoning behind defining some words (gale, bog, shanties, etc.) and not others (dimity, helmsman, countenance). An index of first lines and little else will help readers searching for poems by subject. The prettily colored watercolors are flat and stylized, and seem better suited to nursery rhymes than Dickinson's insightful and witty glimpses of an entire universe in a blade of grass or of ``paradise'' gathered by ``narrow hands.'' Frost contains a three-page overview of the poet's life, 29 poems selected and arranged around the seasons of the year, brief and apt commentaries on each, and a useful index of titles and subject matter. The realistic watercolor illustrations capture the delicate beauty of a New England spring and the glory of fall while still suggesting the around-the-corner chill of winter, a disquiet echoing throughout much of Frost's poetry.Meg Stackpole, Rye Free Reading Room, NY
Based on the proceedings of an international symposium organized by the Food Chemistry Group of the Royal Society of Chemistry at the U. of East Anglia, Norwich, England, March 1990. The central theme is the role of food macromolecules in determining the stability, structure, texture, and rheology of food colloids, with particular reference to gelling behavior and interactions between macromolecules and interfaces. A notable feature is the wide range of physicochemical techniques which are now being used to address the problems in this field. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
Library of Classic Poets Series
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.57(h) x 0.82(d)

Read an Excerpt

Today Emily Dickinson is recognized not only as a major poet of the American nineteenth century but also as one of the most intriguing poets of any place or time, in both her art and her life. The outline of her biography is well known. She was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1830 and, except for a few excursions to Philadelphia, Washington, and Boston, spent her entire life there, increasingly limiting her activities to her father's house. "I do not cross my Father's ground to any House or Town," she wrote, referring to a personal reclusiveness that was noticeable even to her contemporaries. In the front corner bedroom of that house on Main Street, Dickinson wrote over 1,700 poems, often on scraps of paper and on the backs of grocery lists, only a handful of which were published in her lifetime and then anonymously. She was known to give poems to friends and neighbors, often as an accompaniment to the cakes and cookies she baked, sometimes lowering them from an upstairs window in a basket. Her habit of binding groups of poems together into little booklets called fascicles might indicate she felt her poems were presentable, but most of her poems never went farther than her desk drawer where they were discovered by her sister after Dickinson's death in 1886 of kidney failure. In her lifetime, her poetry remained unknown, and although a few small editions of her poems were published in the 1890s, it was not until 1955 that a reliable scholarly edition appeared, transcribing the poems precisely from the original manuscripts and preserving all of Dickinson's typographical eccentricities (see Note). Convincingly or not, she called publication "the auction of the mind" and compared thepublic figure to a frog croaking to the admiring audience of a bog.

It is fascinating to consider the case of a person who led such a private existence and whose poems remained unrecognized for so long after her death, as if she had lain asleep only to be awakened by the kiss of the twentieth century. The quirky circumstances of her life have received as much if not more commentary than the poems themselves. Some critics valorize her seclusion as a form of female self-sufficiency; others make her out to be a victim of her culture. Still others believe that her solitariness has been exaggerated. She did attend school, after all, and she maintained many intimate relationships by letter. Moreover, it was less eccentric in her day than in ours for one daughter—she had a brother who was a lawyer and a sister who married—to remain home to run the household and assist her parents. Further, all writers need privacy; all must close the door on the world to think and compose. But Dickinson's separateness—which has caused her to be labeled a homebody, a spinster, and a feminist icon among other things—took extreme forms. She was so shy that her sister Lavinia would be fitted for her clothes; she wore only white for many years ("Wear nothing commoner than snow"); and she rarely would address an envelope, afraid that her handwriting would be seen by the eyes of strangers. When asked of her companions, she replied in a letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog large as myself that my father bought me."

However tempting it is to search through the biographical evidence for a solution to the enigma of Emily Dickinson's life, we must remember that no such curiosity would exist were it not for the poems themselves. Her style is so distinctive that anyone even slightly acquainted with her poems would recognize a poem on the page as an Emily Dickinson poem, if only for its shape. Here is a typical example:

'T is little I could care for pearls
Who own the ample sea;
Or brooches when the Emperor
With rubies pelteth me;
Or gold, who am the Prince of Mines;
Or diamonds, when I see
A diadem to fit a dome
Continual crowning me.

From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Susan Snively, PhD, is the author of four books of poetry: From This Distance (Alice James, 1981), Voices in the House (Alabama Poetry Series, 1988), The Undertow (University of Central Florida, 1998), and Skeptic Traveler (David Robert Books, 2005). She has taught at Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, and Amherst College and has received fellowships from the NEA and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation. For 27 years, she directed the Writing Center at Amherst College and is the Associate Dean of Students. She earned her BA from Smith College and her MA and PhD from Boston University.

Dr. Snively has given readings and lectures at the Salem Athenaeum, Marlboro College, University of Louisville, Wesleyan University, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Monadnock Lyceum Lecture series in Peterborough, NH, and elsewhere. A guide at the Emily Dickinson Museum, Snively wrote and narrated the films "Seeing New Englandly," and "My Business is to Sing," produced by Ernest Urvater, in the series "Angles of a Landscape." She regularly leads discussions on various aspects of Dickinson for the museum's monthly poetry group. Her first novel, The Heart Has Many Doors, about Dickinson's love affair with Judge Otis Phillips Lord, was published in February 2015, by White River Press. She lives in Amherst with her husband, Peter Czap.

Christine Davenier worked as a teacher for three years before illustrating her first book in France in 1988. Since 1999, Christine has also been illustrating books in the United States. Her energetic style and exuberant characters have helped her books garner Parents' Choice and Booksense Top Ten awards. In 2002, The First Thing My Mama Told Me (North-South) was chosen as a New York Times Best Illustrated Book. More recently, books in the Very Fairy Princess series (Little, Brown), written by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, have spent several weeks on the New York Times and Publishers Weekly children's bestseller lists. Christine has also illustrated bestsellers by Judith Viorst, Jack Prelutsky, Kimberly Willis Holt, Madeline L'Engle, Peter Yarrow, and Amanda Peet, as well as the Iris and Walter series Miss Lina's Ballerinas series.

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Emily Dickinson 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Gregorio More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, Ms Wood reads with only partial comprehension, often putting an irritating sing-song accent on the last syllable of a line. Too bad. There are so many poems - around 250 if I remember correctly, and many that you won't find on any other recording that I know of ,,,