National Endowment of the Arts - The Big Read
The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson

by Emily Dickinson

I find ecstasy in living—the mere sense of living is joy enough.


Emily Dickinson, age 16 (Courtesy of Amherst College Archives and Special Collections)

All poems cited in this transcript are from The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition, edited by R. W. Franklin (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1998, 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.) Copyright 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Produced by Josephine Reed at the National Endowment for the Arts, 2009. Assistant Producers: Adam Kampe, Liz Mehaffey, and Pepper Smith.

Special thanks to Jane H. Wald, Executive Director of The Emily Dickinson Museum.

Excerpts from Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 28 in A major, Op. 101, performed by Seymour Lipkin and featured on the album Beethoven: The Complete Sonatas Vol. 3 (2004), used courtesy of Newport Classic, Ltd.

Excerpts from the following compositions used courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc.:

  • Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suite No. 4 in E flat major and Cello Suite No. 6 in D major performed by Alexander Rudin and featured on the album Bach: Cello Suites (Complete) (2002).
  • Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet No. 2 in G major, Op. 18, No. 2 featured on the album Beethoven: String Quartets (complete) Volume 1 (1994); String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 18, No. 3 featured on the album Beethoven: String Quartets (Complete) Volume 2 (1995); and String Quartet No. 8 in E inor, Op. 59, No. 2, featured on the album Beethoven: String Quartets (Complete) Volume 5 (1999), all performed by the Kodaly Quartet.
  • Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 5 in F major, Op. 24 and Violin Sonata No. 9 in A major, Op. 47, performed by Jeno Jando (piano) and Takako Nishizaki (violin), and featured on the album Violin Sonatas No. 5 "Spring" and No. 9 "Kreutzer" (1992).
  • Edward MacDowell's Woodland Sketches Op. 51: To a Wild Rose and To a Water Lily; Sea Pieces, Op. 55: To The Sea and From a Wandering Iceberg; and New England Idyls, Op. 62: An Old Garden and With Sweet Lavender, all performed by James Barbagallo, and featured on the album Piano Music Volume 1 (1998).
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