Customer Reviews: The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
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on January 9, 2008
NOTE:This is basically a cut & paste of my review of the hardcover edition of this collection. This one suffers the same problem, and I hope that anyone who has any interest in Dickinson will please look elsewhere.

This Barnes & Noble released collection of the poems of Emily Dickinson is fine except for one very, very important fact: Whoever put it together took the liberty of "correcting" Ms. Dickinson's punctuation.

For anyone who has read and is familiar with Dickinson, you are well aware that she seemingly capitalized at random, often doing it to words in the middle of sentences,etc. that on the surface level have no meaning to the poem itself. But they off some insight into her mind and without them, these are not the poems that Dickinson created.

Imagine "correcting" poems by e.e. cummings, you just don't "fix" the work of poets. Often times, central themes and ideas are expressed not only through the words themselves, but through means and devices in which the poet has utilized those words, such as capitalization. This collection takes this very important element away from Dickinson's work.

For example, one of her more famous poems SHOULD look like this:

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry --
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll --
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human soul.

However, this collection reduces it to this:

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry--
This traverse may poorest take
Without oppress of toll
How frugal is the chariot
That bears the human soul

I admit that I have not bought this book, but I have looked through it at Barnes & Noble. I didn't buy it for this very reason, don't be fooled by the price tag this is NOT the poems that Dickinson intended, skip over it for another collection, please. If only to convince editors to stop "correcting" peoples' writings.

EDIT: As one comment stated on another review, it appears that this sad state of Ms. Dickinson's poetry is the victim of copyright laws, etc. And that this phenomenon of altering her works is not limited to this book. Very sad. But if that is the case, then I still recommend going out there and finding works that include her original poems in their unaltered states.
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VINE VOICEon March 24, 2013
I will be honest--I had never just loved Emily Dickinson before I read this volume. I'd covered her in a quite a few classes I've taken, read all of the typical highlights, and I'd often found the rhyme and rhythms of her language repetitive and the images obvious and dull.

I thought she deserved another chance, though, seeing as she's Emily Dickinson, and so I've been slowly reading my way through this volume of verse, taking my time and rereading if something struck me.

A lot of things struck me, much more than I'll cover here. Mainly, the "repetitive" sound of the language became, paradoxically, much less repetitive and full of variant beauties to me. And it set off her poetry in this stark and heightened space for me. The more I read it, the more it allowed the images to speak.

And the images do speak, often quite surprisingly. And I found myself drawn into Dickinson's endless questioning, her search for joy, and her capacity for reverence.


TO make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,--
One clover, and a bee,
And revery.
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.
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on February 16, 2013
I fell in love with the poetry of Emily Dickinson awhile ago. This book holds many of her poems and they are easy to read. The book itself is a nice weight to hold while reading. The poems are simple yet lovely as can be expected from Ms. Dickinson. I would recommend this to anyone who may enjoy her poetry. We will read the whole book, but probably a poem here and there and will go back to favorites again and again. So this is a multiple bookmark book.

My daughter says that she likes this book because there are a lot of words that we do not know in the poems such as beryl stone, Boanerges and stile. Because we like the poems so much, we will look up the words online and they will expand our vocabularies.
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on December 25, 2009
This is good for someone who just wants to read some good poetry. However, to truly get the experience of Dickinson's intention, one should buy an unaltered version. This is one with edited versions of her poems.
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on June 26, 2016
My fault that I started reading this after finishing two volumes of "heavy" Classical Poetry. Switching gears to the more straight forward and brief poem was a bit disconcerting. I have set it aside for a while, but will re-read it entirely.
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on August 25, 2015
This a generous and well considered collection. As a 50yr student of dear Emily's work, my argument with some of the editor's decisions as to typography, would be irrelevant to most reader's enjoyment.
Like any good poet, one of the major elements of composition is the sound. So to fully savor the richness of her craft you must read it aloud.

If you treasure Emily, you will treasure this collection of her best.
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on June 2, 2014
She's my favorite poet. This is the reason why I bought the book. I have read other collections of Dickinson's poems before, and I bought this one to finally own one. It's a great book, light and easy to carry. And of course the poems can never disappoint.

The book came early, and shipping was no problem. I love the way the product arrived. And I will but similar products in the future.
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on February 27, 2013
I bought this book and have tresured it for its diverse collection because I really have always admired her creative linguistic language. I loved visiting her home town last year and exploring the places to which her writings refer. Very special.The Fifteen Houses: A Novel [...]
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on May 7, 2007
Emily Dickinson's expressional language of yesteryear is still the je ne sais quoi of today. The genius that comes forth from her consciousness seems rather simplistic at first, but when you truly contemplate her writing style true enlightenment develops in what I'd refer to as the dimensions of humanity. These dimensions consist of the soul (psyche,) the spirit (nous,) and the body (soma).
I don't think there is anyone who could read Dickinson's poems and not have these dimensions of the self-affected.
A case in point: one of her poems goes like this.

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.

This is one of her most recited poems to date. I sometimes wonder how most people would interpret it?
How I ascertain it is in this contexts. I believe it's about a bird that with a little help will be able to withstand the evening chill.
On it's own, it wants to persevere no matter what the odds, but the pangs of the world rest upon its shoulders.
The bottom line is that the bird needs support.
This bird is the mother of baby chicks who are in disparate need of nurturing, and protection simply because the dead of night is creating trepidations in their souls.
For you see, without trust there is no hope. That is why hope is a thing with feathers because the bird represents a better tomorrow. A tomorrow that will come someday. It will be a day when we can all freely trust one another. And that my friends is the definition of true freedom.
The bird also is the representation of man's struggle with pride. When we (in unison) humble ourselves in all aspects of life then and only then will we be successful.
GIVE A HELPING HAND to whoever needs it, and don't be arrogant, or too proud to receive help either. Those are words to live by.

Here is another good poem I cited.

I Gave myself to him,
And took himself for pay.
The solemn contract of a life
Was ratified this way.

The wealth might disappoint,
Myself a poorer prove
Than this great purchaser suspect,
The daily own of Love

Depreciate the vision;
But, till the merchant buy,
Still fable, in the isles of spice,
The subtle cargoes lie.

At least, `t is mutual risk,--
Some found it mutual gain;
Sweet debt of life,-- each night to owe,
Insolvent, every noon.

"A poem of unrequited love/faulty buisness transaction!" You truly can't help but love this stuff. Emily's poems will grab any reader's heart. If you are a lover of poetry then this is required reading. If these two samples of her work don't convince you to read her collection of poetry then nothing will.
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on October 15, 2013
Emily Dickinson happens to be my favorite poet so I have several books versions of her poetry. I like this cover the best. The color green is prettier than what it appears to be in this picture.
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