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Arguably one of the greatest American poets, Emily Elizabeth Dickinson published only 10 poems in her lifetime.
All of them were edited so heavily to adhere to the standards of her day that they were nearly unrecognizable as her own work.
After her death in 1886, her sister, Lavinia, discovered a cache of 1,800 poems that are heretofore known as The Collected Works of Emily Dickinson. It was a vast array of unconventional, groundbreaking material.
She used slant rhymes and unique punctuation and capitalization quite often to innocently vex the reader and get their attention. She was just as compelling when she spoke of death and immortality as she could be with poems about love.
She died a recluse, sometimes not leaving her room for days. Most scholars believe that her steady decline of physical movement toward the end of her life stands in polar opposition to the tireless journeys she undertook intellectually.
Let’s take a moment and celebrate this lyrical force with 10 quotes that give us a glimpse into her angelic and mysterious heart:
1. “We turn not older with years, but newer every day.”
2. “Forever is composed of nows.”
3. “Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it.”
4. “The heart wants what it wants—or else it does not care.”
5. “Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.”
6. “Luck is not chance—it’s Toil. Fortune’s expensive smile is earned.”
7. “People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.”
8. “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul
and sings the tune without the words
and never stops at all.”
9. “That it will never come again is what makes life sweet.”
10. “Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.”