Guess Who's Turning 180?

Emily Dickinson celebrates her 180th birthday today.

Miss Emily wrote many poems, but only seven or so were published while she was alive.  After her death, her sister found over a thousand poems in Emily's bureau.

I'm going to post my one of my favorite poems of hers here:

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.

~ This is the poem I held closest to me while I wrote Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room.  Images from this poem and others all found their way into my book.  It was not truly intentional to bring Emily in, each word--hope, dwell, feather--and yet, she appeared.  I think this is what the best poetry does, the poet's words return (and perch on your soul) and in your poems.

So let's wish Emily a Happy Birthday today and if you want you can more about her here (and if you scroll down, you can see who adopted this poet...) 

And if you have a second, drop me a comment about what was your favorite poem by Ms. Dickinson.

And may you all Dwell in Possibility...



  1. That is indeed a beautiful poem from a beautiful poet. I've only recently started reading her poems but am really enjoying what I'm reading. My favourite--perhaps I should say so far--is the poem that starts 'If I can stop one heart from breaking'. Such a lovely poem with a great sentiment. Definitely a poet worth celebrating, happy 180th Ms Dickinson.

  2. Love the party hat!! I wrote about Emily and YOU in my blog today, too!

  3. Happy Birthday, Emily! Though I must admit she's not my favorite, I do love this one:

    The heart asks pleasure first,
    And then, excuse from pain;
    And then, those little anodynes
    That deaden suffering,
    And then, to go to sleep;
    And then, if it should be
    The will of its Inquisitor,
    The liberty to die.

    Dave Bonta at Via Negativa will be running a Woodrat podcast later today about Emily's birthday with several poets reading and discussing her work.

  4. It took me a while to understand the simple genius in her poetry.
    I began loving poetry in jr high and didn't 'get' Miss Dickinson at all. After years of ignoring her completely, I find that I like her quite a lot after all.

  5. I would have to say one of my favorite poems by Emily is Much Madness is Divinest Sense.

    Seems a good metaphor for her life, and also ironic how the majority's opinion of her has altered over time.

    I didn't know any of her poetry was published while she was still alive, that's interesting as well.

    She was one of my favorites when I was a child.


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