Teacher Guide

Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems Lesson Plan

Introduction to Emily Dickinson's Collected Poems

Emily Dickinson wrote prolifically during her lifetime, completing nearly 1800 poems to form an extremely large and diverse canon of work. Most of her poems are very short, carefully worded, and subvert or overtly contradict the traditional rules that most poetry followed at the time. Dickinson used primarily simple language, numerous off-rhymes, and purposefully unique punctuation to draw attention to certain themes. For example, she often used a dash (“—“) in her poems to denote pauses or add emphasis. In addition, Dickinson’s poems often include complex structures, symbols, and metaphors, which allow her to discuss themes of faith, death, love, nature, and grapple with various ideas...

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