Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Emily Dickinson Reader: An English-to-English Translation of Emily Dickinson's Complete Poems” as Want to Read:
The Emily Dickinson Reader: An English-to-English Translation of Emily Dickinson's Complete Poems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Emily Dickinson Reader: An English-to-English Translation of Emily Dickinson's Complete Poems

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  65 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Perfect for the poetry fan who is short on time, The Emily Dickinson Reader offers Paul Legault’s ingenious and madcap one-line renderings of each of Dickinson’s 1,789 poems. Take that familiar chestnut, #314, a la Legault: "Hope is kind of like birds. In that I don’t have any.” Or the classic hymn, #615: "God likes to watch.” As Dickinson herself said in #769 (basically, ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published August 14th 2012 by McSweeney's (first published August 7th 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Emily Dickinson Reader, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Emily Dickinson Reader

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 314)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nov 12, 2012 Paul rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
I'm lying, I have not read this completely, you have to take it in little sips, as the bee said to the bobolink, but this book is pure GENIUS - as you know it translates Emily Dickinson's poems - all 1,789 of them - into English. The results are ineffable, thrilling, and exactly like what I imagine a completely insane person thinks like. I will give a few examples.

When I'm dead I probably won't move. But if I could move, I'd move my dead mouth to say "Thank you."


It's spring! So how come all the
I was so very down this evening (rough day at the food pantry trying to comfort people sobbing in despair at finding themselves needing a food pantry) and looking around for something to cheering to read, and not finding anything diverting enough to do the trick. Then I opened my mail & found the latest in my McSweeney's book club subscription waiting for me - this gloriously daffy book providing plain English translations of Emily Dickinson. I sat down & read the whole thing through in ...more
Eric Nixon
I'm somewhat of an Emily Dickinson completest. I just wrote a fictionalized book about her, and in the process of researching her life, I purchased every book about Emily I could find. I was pretty surprised a few weeks ago when I stumbled across this at a local bookstore. Actually, what caught my attention first was the art on the cover. Mabel Loomis Todd (the mistress of Austin Dickinson - Emily's brother) painted it for Emily and it was featured on the cover of the very first collection of Em ...more
Jeffrey Cyphers Wright
Zombie incest and flower worship. Very funny and very readable. In line with current practices of deconstructing primary texts to create new, hybrid forms. Full of faux tautologies, mock innocence and bubbly insouciance.
Legault's talent goes beyond boiling Dickinson's poems down to one-liners and does some wonders with the development of character. There is a part of me that wants the real Emily Dickinson to be this maniacal and terrifying hybrid character of woman/poet/necrophiliac/lesbian/zombie/bird/butterfly/bride of Christ.

My only complaint is the shift halfway through the collection where said character flattens out completely, becomes someone different, fleshes out a new (but enjoyable) sort of humor. I
Jamie Gaughran-Perez
Spend a year reading this one, bits at a time. Cross-reference to your favorite originals. Dip back and forth. Keep it on an end table and return to it now and again. It helps you laugh at everything when you need to. It helps you cut to the feeling when you need to. Repeat.
Aug 31, 2012 Lauren marked it as to-read
#314: "Hope is kind of like birds. In that I don't have any."
#855: "Oh you're immortal? Big deal. I'm immortal twice."
#37: I don't know why I am smiling. Something is happening in the dark to make me smile. Possibly this thing is oral sex."
Absolutely fabulous. Deep at the same time as funny. It's especially great if you're familiar with Emily Dickinson poems.
Ruby  Tombstone [Uncensored or Else]
Let's be honest. This is the only way I'm ever going to come close to reading Emily Dickinson's poems, isn't it?
Hilarious, devastating -- much more than just a parody! Excited to sit down and give this book more time.
this is like deep thoughts by jack handey for the Dickinson crowd
Kevin Lawrence
Clever, but for a whole book? Wears its cleverness out very quickly.
Michelle Devine
A bedside re-read at the end of the day. Extraordinary.
a funny one-liner for every poem she wrote.
Jennie K.
Jennie K. marked it as to-read
Oct 25, 2014
Junedown marked it as to-read
Oct 10, 2014
Lindsay marked it as to-read
Sep 15, 2014
Cynthia marked it as to-read
Dec 17, 2014
Alex Prather
Alex Prather marked it as to-read
Aug 27, 2014
Sharla marked it as to-read
Aug 10, 2014
krista. marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2014
Cmariewt marked it as to-read
May 16, 2014
Dumbledip marked it as to-read
Oct 21, 2014
Sebastian Maldonado
Sebastian Maldonado marked it as to-read
May 13, 2014
Hannah marked it as to-read
May 05, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Begging for It
  • Monogamy Songs
  • Coeur de Lion
  • Love, an Index
  • Say Uncle
  • The Trees the Trees
  • Radial Symmetry
  • Repair
  • Monolithos: Poems, 1962 and 1982
  • Elegy On Toy Piano
  • Bluebird and Other Tattoos
  • The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food and Drink
  • Les nourritures terrestres suivi de Les nouvelles nourritures
  • The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You
  • Antología Poética
  • Please
  • Fox
  • This Clumsy Living
The Other Poems The Madeleine Poems The Sonnets: Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare Mall Witch

Share This Book