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Open Me Carefully: Emily Dickinson's Intimate Letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  203 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
For the first time, selections from Emily Dickinson's thirty-six year correspondence to her neighbor and sister-in-law, Susan Huntington Dickinson, are compiled in a single volume. Open Me Carefully invites a dramatic new understanding of Emily Dickinson's life and work, overcoming a century of censorship and misinterpretation.

For the millions of readers who love Emily Dic
Paperback, 362 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Paris Press
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Deborah Markus
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you want to buy a collection of Emily Dickinson's letters, you have two choices. There is no complete collection currently in print, which throws me into a blind rage every time I think about it so let's just move on quickly, shall we – but there are two major editions of selected letters. (There are also minor, cutesy, gifty-looking volumes of letters, often with some poems thrown in for good measure; but never mind those for now.)

One of the collections is the first you're shown on Amazon. I
Aug 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Considering myself less of a fan of poetry (in general) and more a fan of Emily Dickinson, the person, her thoughts and her life, I was completely enraptured by this piece of scholarly work. The editors' thesis was made plain throughout the book -- Emily and Susan were deeply devoted to one another throughout their lives. They spoke of everyday, emotional, spiritual, and literary matters and even collaborated in editing each others' poetry. The editors note that "in spite of the sheer volume of ...more
Becca Becca
Sep 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-college
I took a class in college by the woman who wrote this book, who is, by the way, absolutely infatuated with Emily Dickinson. In taking her Emily Dickinson class, I realized I wasn't so much a fan of Dickinson's poetry.
Sep 11, 2013 added it
so fabulous. hadn't read much of dickinson and didn't realize she was a queer mystic.
Feb 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Some of the most beautifully written letters ever written.
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Emily Dickinson remains an enigma. The pop-culture capsule view is that she was sexless, virginal, reclusive, and roamed her Amherst cemetery like a lonely ghost. Her poetry has always reflected otherwise. Its passion and lyrical propulsion complicate this vision, but scholars argue about who was Dickinson's true muse. Was it nature, the unknown "Master," or Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Massachusetts minister/abolitionist and literary correspondent to Dickinson? Ellen Louis Hart and Martha Nell S ...more
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry
I must admit, poetry is not my strong suit, particularly when it comes to less structures and simplistically worded poetry. Though I had been briefly exposed to Dickinson’s poetry in High School, I had paid almost no attention to it, being largely over my head at the time. But this collection is not the general, without comment or context poetry I have seen before.

Often, Susan Dickinson - Emily’s close friend and eventual sister-in-law - was ignored by Dickinson scholars, but luckily, someone no
Paris Press
Nov 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing

For the first time, selections from Emily Dickinson’s 36 year correspondence to her neighbor and sister-in-law, Susan Huntington Dickinson, are compiled in a single volume. Open Me Carefully invites a dramatic new understanding of Emily Dickinson’s life and work, overcoming a century of censorship and misinterpretation. This remarkable correspondence brings to light Susan Huntington Dickinson as the central source of the poet’s passion and inspiration, and
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I gave this four stars since I thought the editor did a tremendous job giving background information, explaining esoteric allusions in Emily's poems and letters and in arranging the poems themselves. It was obvious the editor did her research. However, whether you like the book or not truly depends on how well you like poetry in general and Emily Dickinson's poems in particular. I am new to poetry, but I am giving the genre my best efforts and the benefit of the doubt. There were a few poems tha ...more
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Another of those mind-changing literary biographies (like Claire Tomalin's biography of Jane Austen and Louise de Salvo's biography of Virginia Woolf). This book gave me a view of Emily Dickinson that shattered every myth of her that I'd been exposed to. Absolutely lovingly compiled and written by Ellen Louise Hart. The fact that so much of what's in the book are Emily's own words, and some of Susan's, allows readers an intimate look at Emily's inner life. This book sits alongside Tomalin's and ...more
Jan Carlson
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: emily-dickinson
Actually I didn't finish this book. I had looked forward to reading Emily Dickinson's letters, learning more about her. Reading her letters was a tedious task that really didn't help me learn much about her other than she loved her good friend and sister-in-law Susan Huntington Dickinson. As one reviewer put it, the letters are "short, impassioned and not easy to interpret."
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
she writes beautiful poems, and letters. she is fierce and passionate, and these letters subtly changed my perception of her as one undiscovered to one that was already living in a surfeit of emotion though barely published in her lifetime.
May 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mine, q, women, biblio
I am a die hard fan of Emily D. I leaf through the collection of poems just for inspiration and sometimes just to remember certain times and feelings I've been through.

This book caught my attention because of it's title. What a lovely title I thought. And then I realised what it was ;-)
Jun 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry
I am starting to thinking this was a one way correspondence. It is apparent that Emily was really really fond of Susan, to the point where it could cause great pain. But I also wonder, what Susan said in reply.
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
well wow for not ever publishing any of her poems,loving coorrespondence and her sister-in-law is coolalso
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very enjoyable -- the joy, depth and feeling of Emily Dickinson's letters to her sister-in-law reflect another time -- before email!
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Emily Dickinson fans; those interested in 18th century female relationships
What a lovely collection of letters! I think I'd be on cloud nine if Emily Dickinson had sent me just half of the dozens of letters she exchanged with "Susie" over the years. What a friendship.
Susan Facknitz
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Mar 26, 2016
Abe Louise
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Aug 30, 2007
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Aug 30, 2010
rated it it was ok
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Jun 22, 2008
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Feb 11, 2008
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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
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“Oh my darling one, how long you wander from me, how weary I grow of waiting and looking, and calling for you; sometimes I shut my eyes, and shut my heart towards you, and try hard to forget you because you grieve me so, but you'll never go away, oh you never will.” 8 likes
“I think of love, and you, and my heart grows full and warm, and my breath stands still.” 8 likes
More quotes…