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Emily Dickinson's Poems: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Emily Dickinson is considered to be one of the greatest poets in American history. Come and learn about what made Emily Dickinson's poems so unique and special, as well as how to interpret some of her most famous work.

What Made Emily's Poems Special?

Often times, people become more famous after they pass away, such as Vincent Van Gogh, Michael Jackson and even Jesus Christ. Emily Dickinson is in that group as well, as most of her poetry was published when her friends and family found her manuscripts, which is an author's work that hasn't been published yet, after she died in 1886.

Emily Dickinson
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There were many different aspects of Emily's poems that were very unique, or unusual, for that time period, including the themes of her poems. The theme is the big idea of the poem, and Emily chose to write some happy poems with themes of nature, art and love, but she also wrote some dark poems with themes like death, pain and sadness.

One of Emily
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Another unique aspect of Emily's poetry was the form. In poetry, form refers to the patterns and structure of the poem. Many of her poems did not have a title. Also, Emily preferred to write poems that were short and to the point. This is known as being concise. Most of her poems did not have more than three stanzas, which is a group of four lines. For example, there are three stanzas in 'Hope is the thing with feathers':

'Hope' is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I've heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

Famous Emily Dickinson Poems

Since Emily Dickinson had passed away before most of her poetry was published, she isn't around to tell us what the poems mean. Therefore, some of her poems are open to interpretation, meaning that some people might take away a different message from the poems than others. Let's take a look at a few of her most famous pieces.

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