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Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson, The (Barnes & Noble Classics) Paperback – 13 Dec 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Barnes & Noble (13 Dec. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593080506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593080501
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 842,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Malatusis on 26 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
There is a very important fact about this edition that I urge you to consider when choosing which edition of the many available to buy.

From the Introduction to this edition:

"It should be noted that this edition arranges Dickinson's poems by theme, and regularizes her punctuation and capitalization; readers eager for a version of the poems closer to the manuscripts should seek out Johnson's edition, as well as the stimulating criticism of Cameron, Howe, and others."

No justification is given for the regularization of the editors. Had I known this, I would have bought a different edition at the time. I still intend to get another one. I would think that most people would want to read the original form of a writer's words unless there is some obvious reason why it should be changed - a spelling mistake or gross grammatical error, for example.

No such reason exists for this regularization of Dickinson's work. Her experimentation with punctuation and capitalization is an important and obviously intentional part of her work - indeed she's famous for it - and as such, I would advise those looking for a faithful edition of her work to look elsewhere.

It's a shame, because the introductory essay to this edition is a concise, insightful overview of the elements in Dickinson's poetry and life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 19 reviews
63 of 65 people found the following review helpful
A Travesty 9 Jan. 2008
By maeksevhin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Convert 25 Mar. 2013
By Oddsfish - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Edited, but good for the price 25 Dec. 2009
By K. McKenna - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Great poet and a great intellectual: Beautiful words from a beautiful woman: 7 May 2007
By BlackJack21 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Library Must Have 15 Oct. 2013
By Randi Olson Cline - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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