Goodreads Synopsis: Only 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 represent Dickinson’s bold experiments in prosody, her tragic vision, and the range of her intellectual and emotional explorations. Not until the 1955 publication of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, a three-volume critical edition compiled by Thomas H. Johnson, were readers able for the first time to assess, understand, and appreciate the whole of Dickinson’s extraordinary poetic genius.
This book, a distillation of the three-volume Complete Poems, brings together the original texts of all 1,775 poems that Emily Dickinson wrote.
I’ve been trying to read more poetry these days so as to get some inspiration for my own poetry writing, thus I decided to read this collection.
Since Emily Dickinson is one of the most famous female poets I expected quite a lot from her collection, but I didn’t get exactly what I expected. I had forgotten that Emily Dickinson wrote a lot of religious poems, which were all quite boring and repetitive. I found myself skimming most of them.
Still I did enjoy all her other poems. There were lots of nature and love, and especially liked the love poems. There were several times where she would write the same poem twice, once referring to a male love interest and then again referring to a female. Before reading this collection I was under the impression that Dickinson was a lesbian, but it seems to me that she’s another example of bi erasure. None of the ”scholars” seem to know that bisexuality is a thing. Which is frustrating.
In the end I gave this book 3 stars, maybe more like 3.5 stars, I haven’t really decided. I would have liked the collection a lot more if I could have skipped all the religious poems entirely.