A solemn thing – it was – I said –
A Woman – White – to be –
And wear – if God should count me fit –
Her blameless mystery –

Later this week, December 10, will be Emily Dickinson’s birthday. The reclusive poet was born 190 years ago in Amherst, Massachusetts, the town in which she lived and died, and that she rarely ever left. Dickinson was an enigma. As she aged from girlhood to spinsterhood, she became more and more eccentric, dressing only in white and speaking to visitors from behind her closed bedroom door. Most of her relationships, some of which were complex, long-lasting, and even romantic, were carried out through letters. 

Although we have nearly 1,800 of her poems, only 10 of them (and those dramatically edited to suit the conventions of the era) were published in her lifetime. After Dickinson’s death, her…

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