Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Emily Dickinson,"the belle of Amherst"(the Massachusetts town where she spent her entire life), is almost as famous for her mysteriously secluded life as for her poetry, which ranks her with Walt Whitman as one of the most gifted poets in American literature.

She never married, and after age 30 she almost never saw anyone outside of her immediate family. Some scholars believe that this was her response to the narrow literary establishment of her time, which expected female writers to limit their subjects to the domestic and the sentimental.

Author of over 1700 poems, only 10 were published in her lifetime, and these without her permission. After her death, however, her sister found and published the body of her work.