Do you enjoy reading the poems of Emily Dickinson ? Why or Why not ?Do you enjoy reading the poems of Emily Dickinson ? Why or Why not ?

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I have to use the word "appreciate" instead of "like" when it comes to Dickinson's poetry. As others have mentioned, her works are generally short and simple to read but have enough complexity to warrant study and discussion. I find her atypical life the most fascinating thing about her, which helps me appreciate her work and offers an interesting discussion about the consistency of human nature.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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I very much enjoy Dickinson's poems. She was thinking "outside the box" before anyone had perceived of such a thing. And her poems were so pertinent, relevant to the human condition and the experience of life—an irony in that she traveled outside her home only once or twice in her life. The world was her canvas and she was able to intuitively understand the complex human condition without being a part of the mainstream—painting alluring pictures, touching on amazingly accurate perceptions: like that fact that our minds, worries and fears are so much more dangerous than the assassin hiding in our apartment. ("One need not be a chamber to be haunted")

Her imagery is intriguing, her use of literary devices is artistic and compelling. This is an author whose work I know in a limited fashion: I don't seek it out, but rather wait for it to come to me, by chance or through an eNotes-related question because I love the surprise and newness of her work. And since Ms. Dickinson wrote almost 1,800 poems, I always have something to look forward to...like waiting for a flower to open to see what beauty is hidden inside.

Emily Dickinson was an unlikely but enormously gifted poet whose work I truly admire.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Yes, yes, yes!!  I find the intricate puzzle in such seemingly simple language to be thrilling.  Every time I visit a poem by Emily Dickinson, I find something new.  It also floors me that to be so sheltered and to have gone so few places, she had amazing insight into the souls of humanity.  What she did experience, she experienced deeply, and I expect she lived through the lives of others just as deeply...an incredibly vivid imagination.  She is an amazing woman, and I think I would like to have dinner with her if it were possible.  :)

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kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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I found 'He Fumbles at my Soul' a very erotic and insightful poem from a woman whose experience was limited, but clearly diluted to its essence. I enjoy reading - and teaching - Dickinson's work because of its depth and demand on the reader to explore themselves as well as the text.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I usually don't like poets whose stuff is depressing, and much of Dickinson's work is (at least to me).  But some of her poems seem so insightful that I can't help but like them.

For example, "I heard a Fly buzz..." shows us how we human beings get distracted even at the most important moments of our lives.  That seems so true to me that the poem rings true.

As another example, "Success is counted sweetest" is the same way.  It talks about how the people who don't have certain things (like success) are the ones who really feel the importance of those things.  It's like the saying that you never miss the water until the well runs dry...

So I guess I like some of her works because they seem to reveal important truths.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I'm not a huge fan of poetry, but I do enjoy reading and teaching Emily Dickinson's poetry. Most of her works are brief yet complex, and I appreciate the skill that it takes to be able to write on such a wide variety of topics, in meter, and with fresh imagery.

I think, too, that when readers know about Dickinson's eccentric life, it makes her poetry even more interesting. My favorite Dickinson poem is "Because I could not stop for death."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I must admit, before I had to teach a unit on Emily Dickinson I thought her poetry was a little odd, to say the least. I found it hard to grasp what she was on about and it was rather frustrating. However, having taught it and having had to study her poetry, I feel like I have had my perspectives enlarged and my mind exploded by her way of thinking. It is incredible how such a recluse had such an amazing and unique way of looking at the world. She is great!

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Yes, yes, yes!  There are so many poems in her canon that I never fail to find one that suits my mood.  I personally like the strong meter and the use of true rhyme and approximate rhyme in her poetry -- even though the meter can be "sing-songy" it never dilutes her intentions.  She is able to capture so many simple truths in her poetry, but she can also be philosophical, silly, and clever.

It is fun to try to discover what exactly it is she is describing in poems such as "It sifts from leaden sieves" "I taste a liquor never brewed" and "a narrow fellow in the grass."  I am certainly left thinking hard about her theme when I read something like "I felt a funeral in my brain" or "One dignity delays for all."  I smile with a knowing nod of my head when I read "Much madness is divenest sense."  I laugh at poems such as "'Faith' is a fine invention" or "I like to see it lap the miles."

Obviously the list can go on and on.  If you read enough of her poems you can start to collect some common themes to help you discover some of her meaning.  She writes about death, sanity, faith, nature, and simple of observations about the world outside her window.  She can be challenging -- some require several readings, but once you get a part of it, the rest of the poem seems to fall into place.  If you need to do some research on the meanings -- do so -- once you see what she was doing you can really start to appreciate the talent.  The poems are definitely worth the effort for me!

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Emily Dickinson's poetry has a simplicity and freshness to it that moves, provokes, delights, and enlightens the reader.  A reclusive woman who lived simply, Dickinson yet wrote poetry of great import that questioned the nature of immortality and death in verse of great metaphysical depth.  Such poems as "Because I Could Not Stop for Death," "My Life Closed Twice Before Its Close," and "The Soul Selects Her Own Society" are profound metaphysical discussions.

Then, there are Miss Dickinson's poems that celebrate nature, such as "I'll tell You How the Sun Rose," a poem of moving imagery:

I'll tell you how the Sun rose--

A Ribbon at a time--

The Steeples swam in Amethyst--

The News like Squirrels ran--

The Hills untied their Bonnets--

And, then, there are those that reveal both the tie of nature and humans:

I'm Nobody!  Who are You?

Are you nobody, too?

Then, there's a pair of us--don't tell!

They'd banish us, you know.

How dreary to be Somebody!

How public, like a frog

To tell your name the livelong day

To an admiring bog!

This poem also touches those of us who enjoy solitude and anonymity, much like Miss Dickinson.  So, for many there is a sympathy for the sensitivity of certain of us that Dickinson so poignantly expresses.

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