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The Complete Poems

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  59,500 Ratings  ·  563 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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Mar 19, 2008 Timothy rated it it was amazing
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
May 21, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
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
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 and 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 b ...more
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
Sep 27, 2007 Janice rated it it was amazing
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?
Jan 11, 2016 Zazo rated it it was amazing
the complete poem by Emily Dickinson
with the help of the prowling Bee, by Susan Kornfeld I was able to go behind the scenes in Emily Dickinson works

after 3 months of reading plan i would say Emily Dickinson is pure and one-of-a-kind no doubt
Mar 19, 2013 Dolors rated it it was amazing
“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
Oct 26, 2009 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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.
Aug 20, 2007 Diana rated it it was amazing
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."
Dec 22, 2015 Theresa rated it it was amazing
A brilliant and one-of-a-kind poet!
Jul 09, 2016 Angigames rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emily, ogni tua poesia è un sogno!
La tua mente è così superiore che non posso permettermi di scrivere nulla su di te.
Le tue poesie sono magiche, le ho adorate tutte!
May 16, 2007 Kristopher rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 13, 2007 Selby rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"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.
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
Mar 09, 2013 Phillip rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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
Bill Dauster
Jun 04, 2012 Bill Dauster rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 04, 2008 Annie rated it it was amazing
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
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.
May 16, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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.
Nils Samuels
May 10, 2007 Nils Samuels rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Chris Hunt
Apr 14, 2011 Chris Hunt rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 26, 2012 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 17, 2009 Ashok rated it it was amazing
There are other editions of Dickinson's poems, but it is hard to trust their hyphenation at the least. In other cases, the poems have been more severely edited, and in my experience, that is almost always a watering down of theme and an inability to appreciate Dickinson's artistry.

This is the only edition I recommend for the time being, and I am very grateful for it; it has been a privilege to write on poems such as "I dwell in possibility" and "There's a certain slant of light." Dickinson's tho
J.M. Hushour
Aug 03, 2016 J.M. Hushour rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Running upwards of 1,700 poems, there's no conceivable way I could read them all. I settled for maybe half. That's not to say I'm not tempted to read them all, but Dickinson is one of those fine poets who begin to run a little stale after the first 200 or so poems. Best to step off and return to it later.
Don't get me wrong, her innovative poetics is almost ghastly in its profundity, so much so that people use words like 'profundity' or say that she, who had no powers of prescience that her biogr
Jennie  Rogers
I will be returning to Dickinson's poetry frequently, "my perennial nest"
Nov 18, 2015 Haley rated it it was amazing
Oct 13, 2016 Tanima rated it liked it
Emily Dickinson’s poetry is sheer beauty. My initial exposure to poetry was actually through one of her poems many years ago. She always seems so vulnerable in her poetry. It inspired me to (secretly) start writing poems of my own.

Her poetry is tragic yet hopeful; there’s a sense that she had a somewhat pessimistic view about life but damn did she know how to emote her sadness upon those blank pages. And I could go on and on about her genius rhythm! She uses the imagery of seasons and nature to
Lady Jane
Sep 29, 2011 Lady Jane rated it really liked it
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
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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
I open every door.”
“I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ’s a pair of us—don’t tell!
They ’d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!”
More quotes…