lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

D is for Emily Dickinson, Extraordinary Women #AtoZ Challenge

Daguerrotype of 16 year old Emily Dickinson, Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.


Emily Dickinson – what a lovely, gentle expression she had- was born on the 10th of December 1830, and died on the 15th of May, 1886, in Ameherst, Massachussetts.

She studied at Ameherst Acadamy for seven years and then went for just a year to Mount Holyoke Female Seminary.

But then she hardly left home again – practically a recluse she mixed mainly with her family, and became more reluctant to greet visitors as she became older – her friendships were carried out mainly by correspondence.

She spent much of her time in her bedroom, writing poetry; only a handful of which was published in her lifetime, and that altered by the publishers to fit the conventional rules of the time.

On her death, her sister Lavinia discovered her collections of poems – and the breadth and quantity of her work became clear.

Emily had invented her own system of bookmaking by folding paper and sewing sixteen to twenty four pages into ‘packets’. These contained poems written in a unique style for that era – usually without titles, using slant rhyme as well as conventional, and she had invented her own sort of punctuation which consisted of feather light marks, often vertical, on the manuscript.

It may be that we will never know how she would have liked her poems to be printed, as she also used unconventional capitalisations and line and stanza divisions.

Many of the poems were about death and immortality, subjects also often discussed in her letters to friends. Many of the people in her close world died. Other subjects were flowers and gardens, nature, gospel, poems that were confessional and which could be addressed to individuals or a muse (opinion is divided!).

What is sure though is that her poems have given much pleasure since their publication, and that she is one of the great American poets, and an extraordinary woman.

Below is the manuscript of her poem Wild Nights – Wild Nights!


Wild Nights – Wild Nights!


Wild nights – Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!
Futile – the winds –
To a Heart in port –
Done with the Compass –
Done with the Chart!
Rowing in Eden –
Ah – the Sea!
Might I but moor – tonight –
In thee!
Emily Dickinson
If you’d like to read about more extraordinary women, why not buy the book Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, by me, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan – link below!






  1. Emily is my favorite poet. I love her archive at And now I think I may go read a few poems before I have to get dinner started.


    • Yes, I’ve always liked her poems! So many on the natural world.


  2. She is another great woman who had such a keen, intellectual mind but, I fear, had agoraphobia from what it sounds like


    • It certainly could have been. That, or social anxiety.


  3. Rebecca Douglass

    I love the poems of Emily Dickinson. And I will never forget the moment in an undergraduate seminar when the prof pointed out that she tended to use the rhythms of hymns–and half the class began singing “I heard a fly buzz” to a dozen different hymn tunes!

    The Ninja Librarian’s Favorite Characters


    • Rebecca, that is so interesting, I will be going and having a look at her poems now and trying that, lol! I hope American hymns use the same tunes we do…


  4. romancerighter

    I just found you through the A-Z challenge and your topic fascinates me. Emily was a puzzle and a mystery to many of us. What brilliance!

    Using a different pseudonym I am writing a middle grade bio series of little-known intrepid women. So I am attracted to blogs like this one!

    For my challenge this year, I am writing about personality quirks that writers can use to develop interesting characters. Come see me if interested.

    Angelica French


    • Hello, Angelica! I will certainly visit later! My internet is a bit iffy today as they are mending the phone line outside. Did you see I have just had a book of poems about extraordinary women and girls published, written with two wonderful women poets, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan. I included a few modern young women who have done something brave or extraordinary as well.


  5. For a reclusive woman, such a vivid imagination must have been a necessity as well as a gift.


    • I think she had a huge intelligence and this led her to finding an outlet. Creative, as well.


  6. I wish I had found you earlier. Your poetry is quite good.


  7. I’m a sucker for the pictures, I love it when you can really look at people like Emily Dickenson and take in their humanity. Though her poems give you a sense of intimacy, it’s different.

    A to Z Challenge: Discount!
    Isa-Lee Wolf
    A Bit 2 Read


  8. I love seeing the hand-writing of writers I admire. So much more personal and revealing than files on a USB stick.
    D = Death and a doo-dad


    • It’s a bold hand, isn’t it! But she had all the working destroyed by her sister.


  9. It is amazing what she dealt with in order to write. A true talent. Visiting from my A to Z where I provide the history in Billy Joel’s song “We Didn’t Start the Fire”.
    You may be interested in my page from my blog called WOW Worlds Outstanding Women


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