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The Complete Poems

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  53,514 ratings  ·  509 reviews

Only eleven of Emily Dickinson’s poems were published prior to her death in 1886; the startling originality of her work doomed it to obscurity in her lifetime. Early posthumously published collections-some of them featuring liberally “edited” versions of the poems-did not fully and accurately repres
Paperback, 716 pages
Published January 30th 1976 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 1890)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steve Sckenda
“To be a Flower, is profound Responsibility—“ (#1058 )

I went to Amherst, Massachusetts, in search of a prophetess. I found a poet of close observation, of quiet, and of solitude. I gravitate towards cheerful Walt Whitman because I celebrate his optimism, enthusiasm, loud exuberance, and sacrificial service to others. In Emily, I found his temperamental opposite.

So Whitman is my poetic prophet of the gregarious macro; Emily is my prophet of the shy micro. Together they are the two lungs of Ameri
Because she is so freaking good--
As good--as she can be--
She makes me want--to scream--and shout--
And set my poor heart free--

Because I cannot live without--
Her rhythm--and her rhyme--
I keep this poet close at hand
And only ask--for time.
Paul Bryant
I felt a sneeze - as big as God
Form in - back of - my Nose
Yet being - without - a Handkerchief
I Panicked quite - and froze
Sneeze I must - yet sneeze - must not
Dilemma - made - me grieve
Happy then - a single Bee
Saw me - use - my sleeve

Well all right, I did not read every one of the 25,678 but certainly a fair number. You know when she died they found she'd stuffed poems everywhere in her house, up the chimney, down her knickers, tied in little "packets" onto her dogs' hindquarters, someone cut a
Sep 27, 2007 Janice rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all women and poetry readers
Emily Dickinson's poems convinced me, at an early age of 9 or 10, to become a writer myself. I discovered her poems from the obsolete American textbooks my mother got from the collection in our school library. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, when it was too hot to play outside and children were forced to take afternoon siestas, I'd end up reading her poems and imagined the person, that woman, with whom I shared similar thoughts. My favorite poem remains to this day:

I'm nobody! Who are you?
They shut me up in Prose —
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet —
Because they liked me “still” —

Still! Could themself have peeped —
And seen my Brain — go round —
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason — in the Pound —

Himself has but to will
And easy as a Star
Abolish his Captivity —
And laugh — No more have I —
I recently ran across an argument against eBooks that went along the lines of suspicions of censorship, commenting on how easy it would be for publishers and the like to c
This is a huge volume of poetry and probably not meant to be read straight through, but that's what I did. Some of them I didn't like or understand, but there were many that I thought were beautiful and perfectly suited to my feelings. I think that's the way with most poets and their readers. After reading, I was left in wonder about this strange, reclusive woman who saw only a handful of her poems published before her death. She never knew she would be a success; never knew her poems would be l ...more
“I taste a liquor never brewed” by Emily Dickinson
I taste a liquor never brewed –
From Tankards scooped in Pearl –
Not all the Vats upon the Rhine
Yield such an Alcohol!

Inebriate of air – am I –
And Debauchee of Dew –
Reeling – thro' endless summer days –
From inns of molten Blue –

When "Landlords" turn the drunken Bee
Out of the Foxglove's door –
When Butterflies – renounce their "drams" –
I shall but drink the more!

Till Seraphs swing their snowy Hats –
And Saints – to windows run –
To see the little Tippl
Emily Dickinson articulates my own thoughts and feelings in a way I never could. She manifests my ideal. She validates my existence. If you like Emily, I like you.

I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too—
And angels know the rest.

I hide myself within my flower,
That, fading from your vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me
Almost a loneliness.
I love Dickinson. More specifically, I love the sense of balance I feel when reading any of her poems. Her poetry has light within its overwhelming darkness; it is straightforward yet subtle. Its originality is sometimes even startling. I have learned so much in reading her work but the most powerful of lessons I take from Dickinson is to "Tell all the truth but tell it slant... The Truth must dazzle gradually/ Or every man be blind."
May 16, 2007 Kristopher rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Poetry lovers
I would highly, highly recommend strolling through Dickinson's collected verse. She's a (surprisingly) highly underrated poet. Going deep into her entire collection will unearth unknown gems as well as old favorites. This edition, organized chronologically, allows the opportunity to study her growth as a poet and explore her obsessions over time. It also provides the date of first publication (if there was one). A must-have for any poetry enthusiast, highly recommended for those who have a modes ...more
Matt Turner
It's a bit lame to write a review of a complete poems, especially in the case of Dickinson. I can't help but think her poetry was only meant to exist in fascicle format, as small gifts to her visitors. Especially since a complete poems has a very uneven quality, due to the timeline and the sheer amount of poems in the book. The (still large) amount of excellent poems outweighs the lesser poems by far, however, and one can at least try to imagine reading the poems in fascicle format - as if the v ...more
Margaret Langstaff
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson Thomas H. Johnson, ed.--The Definitive Text, Accept No Substitute

(c) Copyright 2012 Margaret Langstaff. All rights reserved. [from the forthcoming Reading Emily Dickinson by Margaret Langstaff]

So often misunderstood and ill-served by her editors and publishers, Emily Dickinson is a rara avis among major American poets. She shunned the spotlight, kept to herself and her family in her home in Amherst, MA, refusing to cater to popular tastes. She never publishe
Bill Dauster
This splendid book collects Miss Dickinson’s fruitful progeny. Before her time, she mastered the short form and slant rhyme that epitomize the modern poem. Yes, she spends far too much time lamenting death and contemplating bees, but her mostly private thoughts leave a mark on the American soul.

"Tell all the Truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle grad
"MUCH madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.
'T is the majority
In this, as all, prevails.
Assent, and you are sane;
Demur, - you're straightway dangerous,
And handled with a chain."

A perfect collection for a perfect poet. Poems small in length but gigantic in impact. For a classic example look above. Some argue it is about John Brown, written shortly after his execution, an interpretation I adore. Fantastic.
What can I say? Emily Dickinson's poetry is the most stunning, haunting poetry I've ever read. I'd read just a few of her poems before decidin to tackle her complete works. It's an incredible experience to read poem after poem that almost makes you feel like she understood the emotions of mortality better than anyone alive. And how she could convey that with words ... wow.
Update: I am at last finished (after a year of not really steady reading). Now I just have to start memorizing. . .
The result of reading the full Emily is only greater curiosity. Now I want to see the poems as she arranged them, in their packets. The chron. arrangement pokes at a biographical revelation that ultimately seems beside the point. . . I'd rather just take her inner world as its own end. On the other hand, I've also started an edition of her letters. --She is fascinating. I'm wonderi
i've been reading these for years. there have always been a few that took me by surprise, but lately i find this whole collection to be a really astonishing experiment in language - it's taken me years to see how modern she is (for you dickinson fans, i'm sure you're saying, well, DUH!). i say this because her work really is a kind of minimalism. she seems to to have more patience than most poets. she waits until the perfect formation of sounds and meanings emerge in just the right crystalline f ...more
Chiara Pagliochini
Quando penso a Emily, raramente penso a uno scrittore, a un poeta, a un artista. Il più delle volte mi affido a lei come se fosse una persona, una persona cara, una bambina da consolare.
Nella mia testa Emily è una bambina che ha bisogno di un abbraccio e che allo stesso tempo sa abbracciare me nei momenti del bisogno.
Quando sto male, quando sento che nessuno può capirmi, Emily è qui con me: lei sa come mi sento, lei può unire il suo dolore al mio. A condividerle le ferite si fanno meno sentire.
"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
Emily is my favorite 19th century American poet. When I first discovered her I connected not only with her words (which I didn't always get) but also the intelligent, cloistered woman whose mind could not be contained within the simple life she much like myself.
Nils Samuels
At her best, ED combines a tight form with words that should trouble us, about the limits of knowing and about the terror of death, which are sometimes one and the same. Along with Whitman, the first great (because the first realistic) American poet.
Chris Hunt
I had a guinea golden;
I lost it in the sand,
And though the sum was simple,
And pounds were in the land,
Still had it such a value
Unto my frugal eye,
That when I could not find it
I sat me down to sigh.

I had a crimson robin
Who sang full many a day,
But when the woods were painted
He, too, did fly away.
Time brought me other robins,--
Their ballads were the same,--
Still for my missing troubadour
I kept the "house at hame."

I had a star in heaven;
One Pleiad was its name,
And when I was not
I'm tempted to only quote Dickinson in a review of this luminary of solitude, this pristine custodian of her own periodic deaths, and this mystically crowned priestess of Nature's God. When my inspiration flags, a Dickinson poem restores zest and also humility. If I had to pick a favorite poet, Emily Dickinson is it. My homage to her:

Emily Takes the Stage

The Day that I was crowned
Was like the other Days --
Until the Coronation came --
And then -- 'twas Otherwise --

Like the Beach Blanket Babylon
Sharon Desruisseaux
I have always loved her poems and knew I would enjoy this collection! Growing up in Massachusetts myself has always made her poems cherished for that as well. I love how she creates her own rules and I understand completely her reasons for such. Poetry should be from the soul and not from the dications of others, which Is why her poems hit close to home. Highly recommended to anyone who an appreciate her sense of the world as many have. Classic for a reason.
I will be returning to Dickinson's poetry frequently, "my perennial nest"

Oh the Earth was made for lovers, for damsel, and hopeless swain,
For sighing, and gentle whispering, and unity made of twain.
All things do go a courting, in earth, or sea, or air,
God hath made nothing single but thee in His world so fair!
The bride, and then the bridegroom, the two, and then the one,
Adam, and Eve, his consort, the moon, and then the sun;
The life doth prove the precept, who obey shall happy be,
Who will not serve the sovereign, be hanged on fatal tree.
The high do seek the lowly, th
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 02, 2013 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Dickinson Fans
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: Good Reading: 100 Significant
I once decided to read through this list of 100 Significant books--there were only 3 women on that list: Jane Austen, George Eliot, and Emily Dickinson. Many would name her as the greatest women poet, and there are few rivals for the title of best American poet. She's definitely a personal favorite of mine. I have more than one edition of Emily Dickinson's poetry: A collection of selected poetry in hardcover, much loved, and a recently acquired ebook of the complete poems.

I do recommend this ed
Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere)
(25 year old paper copy - ed by Thomas H Johnson - I got rid of was starting to degrade at the binding - will look to get this via ebook in future, if I want a reread.)

I read this for a class in college , but it's the kind of book you go back to and read bits of from time to time. And so I can't remember whether the poems that I've marked were ones discussed in class, or just ones I liked or wanted to read again. I've got a list of them offline but figured I'd add them here anyway, in case that
Lady Jane
I love Emily Dickinson and most of her works because she is a poet of transgression. Most of her poetry deals with her revolutionary observations of the world around her and with her own subcommentary on how her views differ from most people's. What I love about her poetry is that there is a tone of revelry in her self-acknowledged rebelliousness. If I had to copy all of my favorite poems of hers I might as well create an anthology; for now, allow me to share a poem that has been my favorite for ...more
Jennifer Wixson
Emily Dickinson left a large cache of poetry -- 900 poems hand-sewn together in 60 small packets -- which her sister Lavinia discovered after Emily's death. The poems were untitled and mostly undated. Lavinia realized she had unearthed a literary treasure trove, and sought help in getting the poems published.

Early editors of Dickinson's work (notably her brother's mistress, Mabel Loomis Tood) trying to be helpful, edited some of Dickinson's idiosyncratic poetry to make it more acceptable to the
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Emily Dickinson was an American poet who, despite the fact that less than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime, is widely considered one of the most original and influential poets of the 19th century.

Dickinson was born to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Aca
More about Emily Dickinson...
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“Not knowing when the dawn will come
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