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EMILY DICKINSON (1830-1886)

E D lived her whole life reclusively in one place (Amherst, Massachusetts) but in contrast, her mind travelled freely and openly. In her own words, she liked to write her poems “aslant”.


  I found the phrase to every thought
I ever had, but one;
And that defies me,– as a hand
Did try to chalk the sun

To races nurtured in the dark,–
How would your own begin?
Can blaze be done in cochineal,
Or noon in mazarin?


After a two page introduction, the first part of This Is My Letter To The World contains selected poems; the second part, selected letters; both sections in roughly chronological order, to show E D’s development and scope. Her letters have the same quirkiness and wit as her poems, and the seven chosen to go in this chapbook have been given their own titles, including “The Fire Letter” and “The Indian Pipe Letter”.

She was not interested in publication. Only seven of her 1,775 poems were published in her own lifetime, all anonymously. She wrote for the love of writing.

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.”

(E D)