What are some recurrent themes in Emily Dickinson’s poetry? How does her poetic format differ from that of other poets?

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Emily Dickinson was a prolific poet who wrote on a wide variety of topics; however, some of her recurrent themes are nature, death, love, and emotions, especially grief. Examples of her nature poems are 1096, which describes a meeting with a snake, and 359, which describes a bird eating a...

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Emily Dickinson was a prolific poet who wrote on a wide variety of topics; however, some of her recurrent themes are nature, death, love, and emotions, especially grief. Examples of her nature poems are 1096, which describes a meeting with a snake, and 359, which describes a bird eating a worm. Some of her most famous poems about death are ones in which she seems to describe her own demise, such as "Because I could not stop for Death" (479) and "I heard a Fly buzz - when I died" (591). Dickinson's love poetry has engendered much interest, because she never married, and the object(s) of these poems remain a mystery. They include "I'm 'wife' - I've finished that" (225) and "Wild nights - Wild nights!" (269). Two poems that powerfully describe the grief of loss are "I felt a Funeral in my Brain" (340) and "After great pain, a formal feeling comes" (372). Yet Dickinson wrote of ecstasy as well, as in "I taste a liquor never brewed" (207). Regarding the formatting of her poems, Dickinson commonly wrote in iambic in a form called "fourteeners," meaning alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter. However, many poems use very short lines and irregular meter. One hallmark of her poetry is slant rhyme--using rhymes that are not exact, but "near" rhymes. Finally, erratic capitalization and liberal use of the dash within and at the ends of lines differentiate Dickinson's poetry from other poets of her time, or before or after her, making her poetry unique. 

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