|About the Book|
Dickinsons poems generally fall into three distinct periods, the works in each period having certain general characters in common. Pre-1861. These are often conventional and sentimental in nature. Thomas H. Johnson, who later published The Poems ofMoreDickinsons poems generally fall into three distinct periods, the works in each period having certain general characters in common. Pre-1861. These are often conventional and sentimental in nature. Thomas H. Johnson, who later published The Poems of Emily Dickinson, was able to date only five of Dickinsons poems before 1858. Two of these are mock valentines done in an ornate and humorous style, and two others are conventional lyrics, one of which is about missing her brother Austin. The fifth poem, which begins I have a Bird in spring, conveys her grief over the feared loss of friendship and was sent to her friend Sue Gilbert. 1861-1865. This was her most creative period-these poems are more vigorous and emotional. Johnson estimated that she composed 86 poems in 1861, 366 in 1862, 141 in 1863, and 174 in 1864. He also believed that this is when she fully developed her themes of life and death. Post-1866. It is estimated that two-thirds of the entire body of her poetry was written before this year. The extensive use of dashes and unconventional capitalization in Dickinsons manuscripts, and the idiosyncratic vocabulary and imagery, combine to create a body of work that is far more various in its styles and forms than is commonly supposed. Dickinson avoids pentameter, opting more generally for trimeter, tetrameter and, less often, dimeter. Sometimes her use of these meters is regular, but oftentimes it is irregular. The regular form that she most often employs is the ballad stanza, a traditional form that is divided into quatrains, using tetrameter for the first and third lines and trimeter for the second and fourth, while rhyming the second and fourth lines (ABCB). Though Dickinson often uses perfect rhymes for lines two and four, she also makes frequent use of slant rhyme. In some of her poems, she varies the meter from the traditional ballad stanza by using trimeter for lines one, two and four, while only using tetrameter for line three.