Poetic Revolution: Emily Dickinson

Jess, Isabel, Hanah, Josh, Harry

Biography and Poetic Style

Emily Dickinson was born on December 10th in the year of 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. She was an American poet who had a strong education at Amherst Academy. She has an extremely enlightened and open mind in which she wrote multiple love poems. During the year of 1854, she took a trip with her sister and mother and met a friend in the city of Philadelphia on the way home. It is alleged that she acknowledged the man in which she wrote her poems about. Her father never wanted her to marry, even though she wanted to, which resulted in her being single throughout her whole life. She passed on May 15th in the year of 1886 (Dictionary of American Biography 1).

Emily had a traditional narrative, lyrical style of poetry. These lyrical styles include the elegy, the 14-line sonnet, and the ode (The Facts On File Companion to American Poetry, vol. 2 Page 1). Dickinson lived a rather private life regarding the process and products of her poems. She was known to always write them by herself, telling nobody of what they are about. Hence, it is ironic that she is so popular because she kept everything she wrote so hidden. Her pieces proved that even though she lived such a sophisticated life, she certainly had a clear introverted personality in which she reflected on particular occurrences in her poems such as death, nature, and love. While she was alive, there were two poems that were let out. Once she died, her poems instantly were revealed by family members. She never spoke of her works with anybody, but the demise of her led to the true feelings that happened throughout her life (Dictionary of American Biography 1).

"Because I could not stop for Death"

Obsessed With Death

Emily Dickinson published the poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” in 1862. It’s said that because of some of her encounters throughout her lifetime she has an obsession with death. Even though she encounters death in this poem, the way she portrays it and the tone of the poem is very calm. Some people think that maybe the speaker is okay with dying or is not afraid to die because of this or maybe death is just a metaphor and this poem is entirely about something else. The main idea of this poem is exploring the curiosity of what really happened by creating a death scene that’s similar to something that the audience can picture in their minds.

Death is a frequent concern in Dickinson’s poetry. Often she explains it through a person who has already died or as a person who is about to die. Like in this poem for example she portrays herself as a person who is about to die and she is looking down on her grave. Emily Dickinson is known for her unusual use of words and situations in her poetry. However, most of Dickinson’s other poems are very cheerful and happy and she is sensitive to the idea of death, but in this poem she seems to embrace it for some reason. Some of her most famous lines were “All but death can be adjusted.”, and “Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell.” Between the years of 1851 and 1854, thirty three of Dickinson’s aquaintances had died including close family and her roommate so she experienced a lot of death in her life and that may be the reason why she expressed it so much in this poem.

I heard a Fly buzz when I died

The poem “I Heard a Fly Buzz­When I died” was written by non other than one of English literature's greatest poets, Emily Dickinson in 1863, who is best known for her dark and creative ways of writing. One being, the chilling poem which centers around the inevitability of death and dying, “I Heard a Fly Buzz­When I Died”. Giving the reader the view and feeling of death as they are reading the poem. As well as, many symbolism within the lines of the poem that resemble many obvious and illusive things corresponding to death.

“I Heard a Fly Buzz­When I Died” being a Dickinson poem about death would obviously

have dark and death related themes, like the fly in the poem and it’s buzzing. The fly clearly depicts a physical form of death as it, and it’s buzzing is the coming and bring of death. “As the fly buzzing is the very thing the speaker hears before everything becomes still and silent and the line “When the King be witness” is when the speaker make an oath for dying and then gives her valuables away” (Huff 1). So then this poem is not just about dying but rather accepting it rather than trying to escape it, as death inevitable. “The poem ends with “the windows failed” as the speaker can no longer see, referring to the proverb “the eyes are the windows to the soul” (Huff 2). Then “I could not see to see” (line 16) refers to the now deceased speaker as she can no longer see through the windows of life but rather through deceased eyes in heaven.

Emily Dickinson's 465. "I heard a Fly buzz--when I died--" (Analysis & Interpretation)

Sucess is counted sweetest

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson’s poem Success is Counted Sweetest is about a man in war dying and the struggles of victory. It also rants about the violence from a war and a victory. She uses royalty to describe victory and the power of a king. “Who took the Flag today” (Dickinson). This represents a flag holder or bearer. They are usually the strongest and most aggressive out of any army. They were ordered to never surrender the flag unless somehow they would get over run by the enemy. Victory is compared to a wine taster. They can taste every ingredient. She describes the loser this way. They know what victory is because they were defeated by it. They know because they are experiencing the opposite of victory. Battle could also be a metaphor or actually be about war. Also a loss in romance has been applied as a deeper meaning.

She uses a lot of figurative language in her piece. For example that success can be tasted. Also purple could represent the people's faces after war and how they turned into monsters. The pieces also has many themes that go along in it. Losing is better than victory is one of them. Losing one can truly understand and appreciate victory.

Much Madness is divinest Sense

Emily Dickinson