Emily Dickinson by the Numbers (MASTER POST)

A small goal I had for May 2019 was to read some more of Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

The aim was NOT to do a formal project –  just a casual approach to explore her work and life.  

How did it go?

Pretty good.

  • Became a little burned out in week three – so I took a break for that week. 
  • I felt like two blog posts had me “cramming in her poems” – and so I stopped forcing them to fit with other themes. 
  • I read about 500 of her 1,775 poems and featured 20 of them this month: posted 15 so far and today have 5 more.
  • My least favorite thing about Emily’s poetry relates to her random use of capital letters. In her journal it looks fine to have capitals randomly used. Her cursive handwriting makes it look stylish.  However, in print, it bothers me to see the random capitals (has to be my teacher side). I also do not like her overuse of the word “And”
  • My favorite things about her poetry are the simple, yet dense words presented in short poems. She also has joy and the way she delights in nature shows a person who found contentment and knew how to be still.  
  • A “few” of her poems I do NOT like at all. A handful of her poems I “love” – but most of them… I just like. 
  • My two favorite poems are the SAME as before I started this adventure (no change) and those are: “Tell the Truth, but Tell it Slant” & “Hope is the Thing with Feathers”
  • A myth was dispelled because even though Emily was homebound from the mid 1860’s til her death in 1886, she did not just live in her room. She was out and about on the grounds of her family’s property, she baked, and did chores. But she did stay in her room A LOT (for example, there was a funeral at her house and she participated by watching through a crack in the door). Her bedroom was noted as being a heavy duty correspondence station (maybe like some of the home offices we have today). But she was not the recluse and social misfit people sometimes note her as being, which is the same for Henry David Thoreau- he lived in the woods and had his alone time, but he often walked miles to be with people – and he socialized a lot. 



Today’s Poems – for this final Dickinson share…. are as follows:

A lane of yellow Led the Eye,  The Lightning is a Yellow Fork, It troubled me as I once Was, The Soul Selects her Own Society,  & I Had Been Hungry all the Years (I added some pictures to go with the poems – see if you can notice the connection)


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The other 15 poems shared earlier this month:

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Author Barbara Gregorich (here) has a good post about Emily’s Poetry.  Here is a snippet:

Okay, so just wondering….

Do you have a favorite Emily Dickinson poem?

Have you read all 1,775? Half of them? Or 1/3 of them, like me?


Author Update – fixed a few typos on the “Numbers” image – thanks, Trent 

The other Poems featured this month will be linked here. 

Have a nice day.








37 thoughts on “Emily Dickinson by the Numbers (MASTER POST)

  1. “Because I Could Not Stop For Death” is my favorite of hers. Cancer has been taking a lot of people in my life recently. I’m doing my best to hide from it. It appears it always wins though. One thing that amazes me is that for a recluse she had a very profound reach into the world and apprehended a vast treasury of knowledge beyond her confinement. Her grasp of things would explode exponentially if she lived in today’s media rich world.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Carl, I am sorry that cancer has been making the rounds in your circle. Oh so sorry – it can sneak in and take someone out so fast – ugh.
      And the weird thing about cancer is that it morphs and mutates with different people and on different parts of the body – but I know one thing for sure that helps combat it – and that is a healthy body terrain.

      This awesome dude named Mike (here) had some meaty posts about the terrain – here is a snippet:

      “Everyone has heard of Louis Pasteur. He is considered the father of the “Germ Theory of Medicine” and he invented the process of pasteurization. Pasteur said that “germs cause illness” and we have to attack the microbes. Amidst a group of physicians and scientists, Claude Bernard made the statement: “The terrain is all; the germ is nothing,” and then drank down a glass of water filled with cholera and didn’t get sick at all. When Pasteur was on his death bed he said “…the terrain is all” but no one listened, saying he’s a raving man, dying and this final statement of his was ignored”. For more information on this see this link called “The Lost History of Medicine” and you will find it to be a real eye opener, I cannot vouch that it is all true, but I tend to believe it and my current experiences are proving this out. The article also talks about Béchamp who has been expunged from medical history, too bad. Also, for a very, very fascinating read see this article titled simply “Terrain” (astounding read, honestly, if nothing else read this article).

      Oh and thanks for sharing your fav Dickinson poem – I am going to add it here…. I think this is one of her most populars and I like it too 🙂

      Because I could not stop for Death –
      He kindly stopped for me –
      The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
      And Immortality.

      We slowly drove – He knew no haste
      And I had put away
      My labor and my leisure too,
      For His Civility –

      We passed the School, where Children strove
      At Recess – in the Ring –
      We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
      We passed the Setting Sun –

      Or rather – He passed us –
      The Dews drew quivering and chill –
      For only Gossamer, my Gown –
      My Tippet – only Tulle –

      We paused before a House that seemed
      A Swelling of the Ground –
      The Roof was scarcely visible –
      The Cornice – in the Ground –

      Since then – ’tis Centuries – and yet
      Feels shorter than the Day
      I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
      Were toward Eternity –


  2. An interesting post Yvette. I wonder if she had some sort of social anxiety and did not enjoy mixing with people in large groups.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi – I wonder too – and I had limited time to dig deep into her past – but if she had agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) she could not have enjoyed the year – and she was out there – in nature – under the tree – and she has a poem (It troubled me as once I was —) that has the ending:

      puzzled me —
      Why Heaven did not break away —
      And tumble — Blue — on me —

      so she did not have that phobia – hahah

      sometimes I wonder if she was just an introvert and did not like society norms and tules at that time – well if I find out more in the upcoming months – ((like this summer I plan to take the free course – linked at the end of the post))- and will let you know if they cover it –
      thanks for that very good feedback

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Congratulations on your Emily Dickinson’s posts. I haven’t read them all, but I’ve read a few, so perhaps I have done okay too. I enjoyed reading what you achieved and appreciate the myths you dispelled. Thank you for sharing her poetry, some of which I hadn’t read in a long time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I found your “by the numbers” information interesting. I didn’t know most of those things. I also didn’t know that the complete works was only published a year after I was born!


    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think you did a great job in tribute to a wonderful artist. I read some poems during the month that I was not familiar with (or had forgotten). Nicely done!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Sorryless – and not quite an immersion – as I got burned out a little and took a whole week off – but I had some days of immersing –
      and I am going to share your favorite poem from her here (so THANKS for mentioning this juicy one):

      I taste a liquor never brewed,
      From tankards scooped in pearl;
      Not all the vats upon the Rhine
      Yield such an alcohol!
      Inebriate of air am I,
      And debauchee of dew,
      Reeling, through endless summer days,
      From inns of molten blue.

      When landlords turn the drunken bee
      Out of the foxglove’s door,
      When butterflies renounce their drams,
      I shall but drink the more!

      Till seraphs swing their snowy hats,
      And saints to windows run,
      To see the little tippler
      Leaning against the sun!

      from here:

      Dickinson establishes the drinking metaphor with the first line. Dickinson whimsically describes the exhilarating effect of nature.Pearl, a precious gem, indicates the value of liquor made under the best of circumstances; her liquor (the beauty of nature) is even more precious. Ladling or dipping into liquor to drink it produces a white foam; color is another reason Dickinson chooses pearl. Her liquor is more precious than Rhine wine, a white wine which is highly regarded.

      With stanza 2, she tells us, humorously, what she is drunk on–air and dew, which represent nature.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m afraid poetry doesn’t reach me. I have a gap in my ability to appreciate that style of writing. But I do appreciate your numbers. And your resistance to misplaced caps.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Maggie – thanks for your insightful comment – another reminder that poems really are not a universal love. And you know, I was expecting to dive into Emily’s work and find a lot more that I “loved” – but I only came away with two more that I liked a lot. And a few had me shaking my head with dislike – really – so I hear you when you say that poetry is not your thing.
      Thanks for reading the “numbers’ section and cheers to being kindred on “let’s use capitalization in a way to where it does not make some readers go batty”

      Liked by 1 person

  7. If you were wondering about what I was talking about in my comment, she was born in 1830 and died in 1886 at 56 – adds up. But in 1843 “Emily was 23 years old and…”. Anyway, I had to tease you about it 😉 I did like the post. I guess since she wasn’t really published in her life, the odd capitals worked for her hand printed poems. Perhaps we need to read her work from photocopies of the originals instead of printed versions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi T
      I did instantly get what you meant! And guess what!? Another typo – she was 55 when she died on May 15th in 1886 – she had not reached her 56th birthday yet so I will go and fix that – can you let me me
      Know if you see any other typos or errors ?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You really delved into Dickinson! I had no idea she wrote 1,775 poems. That is just amazing to me. You really showcased her work with the posts that you did and did her work justice by pairing it with photos and making it interesting for all of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. When I read her work I always get the feeling she’s an introvert, noticing all the details without completely being a part of the picture herself, so to speak. Interesting post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the comment – I can see how you got the impression – makes sense- and she had her sister destroy her journals – – which is too bad because we could have learned more about the poet if we had even a few of those journals

      Liked by 1 person

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