Emily Dickinson: Poems

(2626 words)

After Emily Dickinson’s death in 1886, her sister Lavinia found to her astonishment a remarkable hoard of manuscripts: forty booklets of poems (or “fascicles” as they are called) that Dickinson had entrusted to their maid, Maggie Maher, and many sheets and scraps of paper containing more poems and fragments, along with the correspondence that Lavinia had started burning to protect Dickinson’s privacy. Over 1770 different poems were eventually found, only ten of which are known to have been publicly printed in Dickinson’s lifetime.

The question of what constitutes a Dickinson poem is a thorny problem. Thomas H. Johnson, who published in 1955 the first complete edition of the poems, “including variant readings …

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Freeman, Margaret. "Poems". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 26 January 2005
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16700, accessed 30 September 2016.]