How Many Poems Did Emily Dickinson Write in Her Lifetime?

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Emily Dickinson wrote about 1,800 poems by the time she died in 1886 at age 56. Only a dozen were published during her life, and until her unpublished poetry was discovered in the 20th century she was unknown to literary scholars.

Dickinson's poetry, filled with ironic observations and humorous ambiguities, were written on scraps of paper, grocery lists, and used envelopes. The first volumes published in the 1890s were edited to change their eccentric punctuation and syntax, eliminating part of their charm. Only upon Thomas Johnson's 1955 edition of her complete work was her poetry published as she wrote it, with telegraphed lines, dashes and abrupt changes that demonstrated her true genius.