Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 to an old Connecticut River Valley family. She was born in Amherst, Massachusetts where her father, granfather, and older brother served as treasurers of the Amherst College. She graduated from Amherst Academy in 1847. Then, Dickinson attended Mount Holyoke Female seminary for only a year, but returned home unable to decide whether or not to join the Congressional Church.
By 1858, Emily Dickinson had begun copying poems into little packets. And by 1860, she had undergone an emotional and psychological disturbance related to a tragic, unrequited love. This crisis stirred her imagination and helped mature her poetry. During this isolated period of her life, 1860-1866, she wrote more than a third of her total output of poems.
In 1862, seeking advice about the quality of her poems, Dickinson wrote to Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a popular critic. Higginson advised against publication of Dickinson’s poems because of the irregular rhythms, adapted from hymn meters, slant rhymes, eccentric phrasing, and emotional intensity. Nevertheless, she continued to write poems in that style. By the late 1860’s, she had become a total recluse, dressing in all white, and withdrawn from contacts beyond the family.
Emily Dickinson led a simple life. She was devoted to her parents, her sister Lavinia, and to her brother Austin whom she helped through an unhappy marriage. She was likewise in love with and devoted to Judge Otis Lord, a widowed friend of her father. Her pieces range from feeling of wonder to alienation. This was much to do with her struggle with her femininity and love for Judge Lord.
Emily Dickinson chose not to publish many of her poems for fear she would be misunderstood. During her final years she neer left her house or garden. Since her death of Bright’s disease, Dickinson has become known as one of the greatest and most powerful poets who ever lived.