Emily Dickinson wrote almost 1800 poems during her life. Her poetry was stunningly original, ignoring or working against many of the traditions and conventions of the time. Her poems are almost all short, using the traditional hymnal stanza of quatrains of lines alternating between four and three beats long, rhymed abab.
Dickinson’s poems use largely simple language, many off-rhymes, and unconventional punctuation to deal with a small set of themes that she returned to again and again. Death, grief, passion, faith, truth, and fame and success are the most prominent of these themes. Each time she revisits one of these threads, she comes at it differently, never allowing her interpretation of truth to become entrenched or oversimplified.