If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. There, she secretly created bundles of poetry and wrote hundreds of letters.
Due to a discovery by sister Lavinia, Dickinson's remarkable work was published after her death—on May 15, 1886, in Amherst—and she is now considered one of the towering figures of American literature.
Manuscripts dated to this period appear less finished than those of her intense writing period (1858-1865), though scholars are increasingly intrigued by what these later manuscripts—some of which are written on scraps of paper—suggest about her writing process.
Dickinson's work reached the eyes of several writers and publishers who did express interest in publishing her work.
Drafts of letters to Lord suggest that the poet even considered marrying him, though she never did.
Dickinson's later life is marked by illness and death: her father's death in 1874, her mother's stroke in 1875, her nephew Gib's death at age eight in 1883, Otis Lord's death in 1884, Helen Hunt Jackson's death in 1885.
Written during the poet’s most productive period, the letters reveal passionate yet changing feelings toward the recipient. While the letters are remarkable examples of Dickinson’s exceptional power with words, they are studied as much to attempt identification of the intended recipient as for their literary mastery.
The first, dated to spring 1858, begins "Dear Master / I am ill"; the second, dated to early 1861, starts with "Oh, did I offend it"; and the third, dated to summer 1861, opens with "Master / If you saw a bullet hit a bird” (date attributions made by R. The lengthy list of proposed candidates includes Samuel Bowles, family friend, newspaper editor and publisher; William Smith Clark, a scientist and educator based in Amherst; Charles Wadsworth, a minister whom Dickinson heard preach in Philadelphia; as well as George Gould and Susan Dickinson.If you will give me permission I will copy them—sending them in my own handwriting—and promise never to tell any one, not even the publishers, whose the poems are. only you and I would recognize the poems." (L573a)1878), though whether Dickinson actually gave advance permission is still in question.In her later years, Dickinson enjoyed a romance with Judge Otis Phillips Lord, a friend of her father.In 1875 Higginson read a few poems by “Two Unknown Poetesses” to the New England Woman’s Club, and one of the "poetesses," who were not named during the reading, is believed to have been Dickinson.Around the same time, the author and Amherst native Helen Hunt Jackson begged Dickinson to contribute a poem to a volume of anonymous verse: "Would it be of any use to ask you once more for one or two of your poems, to come out in the volume of 'no name' poetry which is to be published before long by Roberts Bros.?The question of whether the reclusive poet would have consented to move to Lord’s home in Salem, Massachusetts, was mooted by Lord’s decline in health. Whatever the reality of Dickinson’s personal experiences, her poetry explores the complexities and passions of human relationships with language that is as evocative and compelling as her writings on spirituality, death, and nature.