Emily Dickinson's most notable accomplishments include being one of the most prolific American poets, composing nearly 1,800 poems. Since her death, she has also become one of America's best-known and highly respected poets.
Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Mass., in 1830. From an early age, she was well-educated and well-read, two aspects of her early development that likely helped her along the path to becoming a famous poet. She also suffered from what today would be called depression, which got worse after the deaths of friends and family. Many of her poems reflect a fascination with death and dying.
Despite being such a prolific writer, fewer than a dozen of her almost 1,800 poems were published while she was alive. It is unknown exactly why she refused to publish often, but she is quoted as saying, "Publication is the auction of the mind." After her death, her sister Lavinia worked to get the rest of her poems published. Since 1890, Emily Dickinson's works have constantly been in print, making her one of the most-read and well-known poets in America.
Dickinson is better-known than her contemporaries because her poetry is considered innovative; she wrote more experimentally, using a wider vocabulary and departing from traditional structure in her poems. As a result, her poetry is more concise and stronger than that of other poets of the time.