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Emily Dickinson’s Poems

As She Preserved Them

Emily Dickinson

Edited by Cristanne Miller

ISBN 9780674737969

Publication date: 04/11/2016

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Widely considered the definitive edition of Emily Dickinson’s poems, this landmark collection presents her poems here for the first time “as she preserved them,” and in the order in which she wished them to appear. It is the only edition of Dickinson’s complete poems to distinguish clearly those she took pains to copy carefully onto folded sheets in fair hand—presumably to preserve them for posterity—from the ones she kept in rougher form. It is also unique among complete editions in presenting the alternate words and phrases Dickinson chose to use on the copies of the poems she kept, so that we can peer over her shoulder and see her composing and reworking her own poems.

The world’s foremost scholar of Emily Dickinson, Cristanne Miller, guides us through these stunning poems with her deft and unobtrusive notes, helping us understand the poet’s quotations and allusions, and explaining how she composed, copied, and circulated her poems. Miller’s brilliant reordering of the poems transforms our experience of them.

A true delight, this award-winning collection brings us closer than we have ever been to the writing practice of one of America’s greatest poets. With its clear, uncluttered page and beautiful production values, it is a gift for students of Emily Dickinson and for anyone who loves her poems.


  • This book brings us as close as we can get to how [Dickinson] presented her work… Sparing us the task of deciphering the poet’s sometimes challenging handwriting and presenting intriguing variants, this edition demonstrates why generations of writers have been galvanized by Dickinson… This edition brings us that much nearer to what this exceedingly decisive and willful writer wanted. It sweeps away distractions caused by posthumous fame, leaving us with the poems themselves… Closer than previous editions to Dickinson’s wishes, priorities and personality, Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them calls for no redundant plays, films, novels or warbling. What remains is lightning bolts of language akin to the trouvailles of Arthur Rimbaud and other powerful magicians of verse.

    —Benjamin Ivry, Literary Review


  • 2018, Winner of the MLA Prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition


  • Cristanne Miller is SUNY Distinguished Professor and Edward H. Butler Professor of English at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. Her many books include Emily Dickinson: A Poet’s Grammar, Reading in Time: Emily Dickinson in the Nineteenth Century, and Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them.

Book Details

  • 864 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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