Emily Dickinson | American poet
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1830. As the middle child, Emily was the daughter of Samuel Fowler Dickinson (a prominent lawyer in Amherst and a well-respected trustee of Amherst College) and Emily Norcross. She had two siblings, William Austin-the eldest, Lavinia Norcross- the youngest.
Dickinson studied at Amherst Academy for seven years in different classes such as English, Literature, Latin, botany, geology, history, mental philosophy, and arithmetic. She attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary for a year. She never joined a particular church or denomination, which was going against the religious norms of that time. In 1844, she was traumatized by the deaths of her near ones.
In 1855, Dickinson ventured outside of Amherst, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she befriended a cherished correspondent of hers, Charles Wadsworth. She started writing as a teenager. She was deeply influenced by her principal Leonard Humphrey, and a family friend named Benjamin Franklin Newton. Most of her work was done in secret as she did not share most of what she wrote. Only ten or so poems were published in her lifetime, mostly without her consent. From 1858 through 1865, she was most productive as a poet, creating many fascicles in her poems. The poems basically included letters that were revealed after her death, by her sister Vinni, which had almost eighteen hundred individual poems in Dickinson’s bedroom. Some of the popular poems are: ‘I taste a liquor never brewed’, ‘Success is counted sweetest’, ‘Wild nights – Wild nights!’ etc. A full compilation, The Poems of Emily Dickinson, wasn’t published until 1955.
It has been thought that she suffered from bad health conditions like agoraphobia, depression, or stressed for being a caregiver to her sick mother. She was also treated for a painful ailment of her eyes. She utilized her spare time studying botany and produced a vast herbarium. She also maintained correspondence with a variety of contacts. She never got married throughout her life.
Dickinson was an indelible American character whose writing depicted a strong reclusive and eccentric voice that is still discussed today. At the age of 55, she died of kidney disease in Amherst, Massachusetts, on May 15, 1886. She was laid to rest in her family plot at West Cemetery. Her birthplace, Homestead, is now turned as a museum.