Did you know that Emily Dickinson had a Newfoundland? Or that she lived on the same property but in a different house all her life? Did you know that she was an avid gardener or that she attended University, but only for one year because she was terribly homesick? How about that there are only three pictures of Emily Dickinson and that the most famous one, she hated?
If you didn't, that's okay. Until recently, I didn't either. In fact, despite being an English major, and loving poetry, I knew very little about Emily Dickinson - that is, until I visited the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts while away from school for a long weekend.
The Museum consists the family's property in downtown Amherst, on Main Street. Both her and her brother's houses are on that same piece of property, and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to tour both with my grandparents. The tour guide was incredible, telling us little snippets of information about Emily's family and life throughout each area we saw on the tour. We learned that she wasn't as secretive a person as many believe she was, that she never joined a church despite attending one every week, and that she loved baking, often finding inspiration for her poems while busy in the kitchen.
What was even more fansenating to me than those facts, however, was learning about her poetry. I never studied her poetry in school, and hadn't read much of it on my own, but by the end of the tour I had fallen in love with it and with her as a poet. In each room, the tour guide read a poem to us and she would sometimes explain the meaning, or ask us for our interpretation. It was interesting and so much fun learning about the themes that appeared persistently throughout her poetry over the course of her life, and it even got me thinking about writing a little poetry myself.
Overall, it was an incredibly interesting and fulfilling experience, and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to go! Here are a few of her quotes to leave you with. Enjoy!
“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”
“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.”
“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.”
“Morning without you is a dwindled dawn.”
“Saying nothing sometimes says the most.”
"This is my letter to the world that never wrote to me.”
“I dwell in possibility…”
“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.”
“Forever is composed of nows.”
“Beauty is not caused. It is.”
“To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”
“Bring me the sunset in a cup.”
“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.”
“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.”
“Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it.”
“Hold dear to your parents for it is a scary and confusing world without them.”
“I felt it shelter to speak to you.”
“I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.”
“We never know how high we are till we are called to rise. Then if we are true to form our statures touch the skies.”
“Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.”
“But a Book is only the Heart's Portrait- every Page a Pulse.”
“Write me of hope and love, and hearts that endured.”
“Judge tenderly of me.”
“I tasted life.”
"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all."
“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.”