American poet Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830. She lived in isolation for much of her life, which gained her local notoriety for choosing physical seclusion. Despite this, she was socially active through correspondence with her friends and family.
During her lifetime, she wasn’t known to many as a poet. Out of the nearly 1,800 poems she wrote, only ten were published. It was only four years after her death in 1886 that her first collection of poems was published, although they were heavily edited.
In 1955, Complete Poems, Dickinson’s entire and mostly unedited poetry became available. Ever since her work became known to the mainstream audience posthumously, she has been considered as one of the most notable names in poetry.
Dickinson’s secluded life also made her a mysterious figure in literature. Characterized by her unique wordplay, unexpected rhymes, and sudden line breaks, she goes beyond literary rules and makes her own, making her poems highly distinctive at the time.
Today, scholars describe her work as having a solid poetic structure despite her unorthodox style, which explains why she has had remarkable influence in American literature. Here are 30 Emily Dickinson quotes to appreciate the depth and beauty of her writing.
If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain. – Emily Dickinson
If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. – Emily Dickinson
Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough. – Emily Dickinson
Saying nothing sometimes says the most. – Emily Dickinson
Beauty is not caused. It is. – Emily Dickinson
To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else. – Emily Dickinson
The heart wants what it wants — or else it does not care. – Emily Dickinson
That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet. – Emily Dickinson
Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell. – Emily Dickinson
Hold dear to your parents for it is a scary and confusing world without them. – Emily Dickinson
Forever is composed of nows. – Emily Dickinson
I don’t profess to be profound; but I do lay claim to common sense. – Emily Dickinson
The lovely flowers embarrass me. They make me regret I am not a bee… – Emily Dickinson
I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine. – Emily Dickinson
Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it. – Emily Dickinson
A wounded deer leaps the highest. – Emily Dickinson
Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it. – Emily Dickinson
I have been bent and broken, but -I hope- into a better shape. – Emily Dickinson
Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortune’s expensive smile is earned. – Emily Dickinson
We turn not older with years but newer every day. – Emily Dickinson
I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven. – Emily Dickinson
To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime. – Emily Dickinson
The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience. – Emily Dickinson
A letter always seemed to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend. – Emily Dickinson
Love is its own rescue; for we, at our supremest, are but its trembling emblems. – Emily Dickinson
Till it has loved, no man or woman can become itself. – Emily Dickinson
The poet lights the light and fades away. But the light goes on and on. – Emily Dickinson
They say that ‘home is where the heart is.’ I think it is where the house is, and the adjacent buildings. – Emily Dickinson
You cannot fold a flood and put it in a drawer, because the winds would find it out and tell your cedar floor. – Emily Dickinson
I’m a Nobody! Who are you? Are you nobody, too? There’s a pair of us- don’t tell! – Emily Dickinson
Share these 30 Emily Dickinson quotes to inspire your loved ones.