Poet. Born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. While never popular in her lifetime, Emily Dickinson has become one of the most widely known poets. She was educated at Amherst Academy from 1840 to 1847 and Mount Holyoke Female Seminary from 1847to 1848. She met the Reverend Charles Wadsworth in Philadelphia in 1854, and he may have been the inspiration for some of her love poems. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a former minister and author, seems to have been her literary mentor, as indicated in an extended correspondence beginning in 1862.
Not much is known about Emily Dickinson’s personal life, which has led to much speculation by scholars and readers alike. It is noted that she lived in Amherst all of her life and became a recluse around 1862. Dickinson died a few years later on May 15, 1886. Only two of her poems were published in her lifetime.
Her sister, Lavinia Dickinson, discovered hundreds of her poems after her death and they were published in selections from 1890 onwards. These early selections sold well. The first authoritative edition, The Poems of Emily Dickinson (3 vols), edited by Thomas H. Johnson, did not appear until 1955. She is known for her poignant, compressed, and deeply charged poems, which have profoundly influenced the direction of twentieth-century poetry and gained her an almost cult following among some.