The Complete Poems

The Complete Poems

THE ONLY ONE-VOLUME EDITION CONTAINING ALL 1,775 OF EMILY DICKINSON’S POEMSOnly 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...

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Title:The Complete Poems
Author:Emily Dickinson
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ISBN:0316184136
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:716 pages

The Complete Poems Reviews

  • Janice
    Sep 27, 2007

    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?

    Are

    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?

    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!

    I knew of course that she never became famous in her lifetime, and that was something she didn't particularly aim for. But her poems assured me that there was something else I needed to do, somewhere else I had to be. Like everything, including our physical state was just temporary. So I grew up looking forward to the day when I'd have enough courage to write about my thoughts and feelings and be able to say, this is my letter to the world who never wrote to me... ;)

  • Timothy
    Oct 17, 2007

    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
    Dec 06, 2007

    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

    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 slice of a loaf of bread to make a sandwich and another 25 poems fell out. I think Emily would have made a great drug mule if she'd have lived another 120 years. Although she may have found a serious conflict between her intense religious convictions and the large amount of cash she would have made, not to mention the radical change of lifestyle.

    There's - a certain - slant of - light

    On - winter afternoons

    That makes - you feel - high

    Like - those - small - mushrooms

    I put - a poem - in my pants

    Then sitting - by an Eternal Lake

    My poem - seemed - to speak aloud

    "Lay off - the Battenburg - cake"

  • Sarah
    Jan 18, 2009

    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.

  • Aubrey
    Aug 07, 2010

    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

    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 change the text at any point via the digital interface, obfuscating any spot of material at any point thought necessary and rendering the interaction between reader and reading as puppet and puppeteer. A plausible occurrence, but an old one. Technology does not birth new abuses of communication and truth; it merely expedites, and leaves a different trail.

    A century and a quarter after Dickinson's death, almost sixty years after the last of her poems were finally published as they were meant to be, and still much too much is made of the means by which she composed. Never mind the seven years of higher learning, the keen network of letters enabling a vibrant circle of thought, the oeuvre itself in its wondrous breadth and brilliant insight that puts many a classical novel to shame. No, let us instead focus on how weird she was, how closeted her life, how quiet her compositions, how we rescued her work from the dire abyss and shaped it for the public whims and fancies as to how an American gentlewoman of that day and age should have written. How easy it is for us to focus on the cutesy trifles, the small morbidities, the things we call experimentation in men and "capriciousness" in women, that last word courtesy of Thomas H. Johnson, editor extraordinaire. So proud he was of his complete collection and yet

    couldn't give his scholarly focus the benefit of the doubt.

    One favor Johnson did well enough when he wasn't patronizing his chosen poet was accompany every poem with two years: one of composition, the other of publication. The first of the review was written 1862, published 1935. The second also 1862, yet published 1945. Once the anger at such mincing censorship has cooled, the text becomes invaluable, for here is a shameless record of piece by piece persistence of a work through the consternation of the ages. Paranoia inspired by digital outposts has nothing on a history of flagrant editing, closeting, disbelief and pride, till the author finally gets her due in her own words if not those of others.

    Written unknown, published 1945. Multifaceted the academics say, as if this wasn't a lifetime contained in 1,775 proofs of existence whose range of thematic material could have easily come together into one of those weighty tomes popularized by those with sufficient freedom of time and respect of endeavor by both Self and Other. Thought, Truth, Ethics, Creation, Creed, Deserving Pride, Bound Despair, Fragility of Self, Violence of Intellectual Development, Inexorable Stretching of Time from Second to Eternity and All the Survival Between, to name just a few of the topics captured so surely in succinct measures in some of my favorites of hers, thirty-one in total and not a single one seen before in high school classrooms and other variations on the popularity context. If you want the scale of a legacy of ungrateful disrespect, try

    on for size. Now make Melville a woman.

    Written 1878, published 1945. Even her compositional submission to virulent androcentrism couldn't revive this particular piece till near seventy years went by. Her mind was a marvel and knew it, too, clear evidence in her just contempt, her needful compartmentalization, her courting with the furthest ends of triumph and sheer oblivion. She never needed to go to war to know the futility of achieving glory and fame by means of homicidal finality, nor venture far from her chosen methodology of creation to contemplate the rise and fall of Life and Ideal the world over. Milton was blind when he conjured up Paradise Lost through dictation to his daughters, and nary a murmur that mayhap some of the result was her or her own. Dickinson was a woman who found the means to contemplate; the rest is sordid history and ugly present.

    Written 1883, published 1945.

    Written 1862, published 1935.

    Written 1861, published 1896. Whitman's multitudes came first, but Dickinson knew the difference then as bitingly as she would now. She was dead when others came to rifle through her work, and still they insisted on putting it and her persona through the torturous paces of then till today. Her words excavated themselves long before technology came into play; how long till we stop pretending otherwise?

    P.S. She talked about the Birds and the Bees a lot. Just saying.

  • Dolors
    Mar 19, 2013

    “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

    “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 Tippler

    Leaning against the – Sun!

    Inebriated by poetry

    "I taste a liquor never brewed" a poem by E. Dickinson

    For me, this is an hymn to poetry and what is sacred about the act of writing. I read line after line as an invocation to beauty in all its natural forms until I got drunk with it, until I, the reader, was able to reach the heavens and join its inhabitants, Seraphs and Saints, along with Emily, who is writing from there.

    In this sense, I guess that we, the readers who are able to share beauty through words, are rewarded with the admittance in Dickinson's house of possibility and poetry.

    The poem read also as an hymn for me because of its musicality and rhyme which I became aware of when I first read the poem out loud. The way the words sang by themselves came as a surprise, and the lack of punctuation, only the dashes and the capital letters to emphasise some words, made the poem more open and infinite.

    Analysing stanza by stanza, the poem starts with a reference to a certain liquor, which is a strange one, because it was never brewed and because its vastness wouldn't fit into such a huge river as the Rhine. There's also the reference to the ancient age of this liquor, because the Rhine, along with the Danube, appeared as important rivers in historical texts during the Roman Empire.

    So, going forward, this strange alcohol, makes the " I " in this poem inebriated. I understand this " I " as the writer, in this case, Emily. She speaks of herself being drunk with this strange liquor, a liquor which comes from dew, air and summer days melted in endless blue skies. As I see it, in this second stanza, Emily is describing the beauty of the natural world as overwhelming, she is dizzy, intoxicated with it, and she drinks it in the inns of Nature.

    And in the third stanza she stresses out this last idea even more, because the more the inhabitants of this natural world, the bee, the foxglove, the butterfly, are denied by foreign "Landlords", emphasised by quotation marks, the more she drinks of this natural liquor, the more inebriated she becomes.

    As for the interpretation of these Landlords, I take it as if they were the real world, the rationality, Emily's house of prose. The ones who call the imagination back to earth and out of this world of poetry and possibility.

    The last stanza is for me, the most difficult to analyse.

    Emily is intoxicated by the beauty of nature and ultimately, of poetry, but she keeps drinking and drinking in it, until the whole act of writing becomes sacred. I understand that she reaches heaven in the Biblical sense, and salvation if I dare say. I'll risk it by saying that this "Tippler" might be Jesus, leaning against this sun, this shinning light, waiting for her to reach out for her destiny, her fate, her mission in life, which is to write, to become a poet.

    And just another conclusion after rereading the whole thing again.

    I also think, that the metaphor of liquor and inebriation is not a casual one.

    If you think of men drinking in inns and socialising in the XIXth century, you might wonder how a reclusive person as Emily might view this kind of activity. Surely she might have disapproved of someone getting drunk, and this poem might also be a criticism to such behaviour and at the same time, she elevates something she finds ugly or negative to an utterly magnificent and celestial act, the act of writing, proving its capacity to transform the dull world of reality into a beautiful fan of possibilities.

  • Edward
    Sep 08, 2013

    --Poems

  • Duane
    Feb 24, 2014

    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

    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 be loved by millions of people, and never knew she would be considered one of the greatest American poets.

  • Jennie Rogers
    Jan 12, 2015

    I will be returning to Dickinson's poetry frequently, "my perennial nest"

  • Zazo
    Nov 20, 2015

    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