Happy Birthday, Emily

Today is the birthday of American poet Emily Dickinson. On this day in 1830, Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts where she lived in what most scholars consider relative seclusion most of her life. Her poems were published posthumously and usually edited severely for many years. Despite unfavorable reviews in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth, an unaltered collection of her poetry became available in 1955 when The Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by Thomas H. Johnson.

Dickinson’s poetry is usually divided into five categories. The first is referred to as the “Flowers and Gardens” poems and it should not be a surprise that she wrote about such topics since in her lifetime since she was more known for being a botanist than a writer while alive. The next category is often called the “master poems.” Another category of Dickinson poems is referred to as the “morbidity” poems or the poems about life and death. Dickinson also wrote “gospel poems.” And maybe lesser known, the poems about “the undiscovered continent” are often about visiting the mind or the spirit as if they were tangible, physical places.

One of Dickinson’s short poems that really appeals to me is “How happy is the little stone.”

How happy is the little stone  
That rambles in the road alone,  
And doesn’t care about careers,  
And exigencies never fears;  
Whose coat of elemental brown         5
A passing universe put on;  
And independent as the sun,  
Associates or glows alone,  
Fulfilling absolute decree  
In casual simplicity.  

 Sometimes I wish life were more simple. See you next week. Until then, Happy Reading!

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