12 September 2005 | Vol. 5, No. 3
Letter to Thomas Higginson on 15 April 1862
Are you too deeply occupied to say if my Verse is alive?
The Mind is so near itself—it cannot see, distinctly—and I have none to ask—
Should you think it breathed—and had you the leisure to tell me, I should feel quick gratitude—
If I make the mistake—that you dared to tell me-would give me sincerer honor—toward you—
I enclose my name—asking you, if you please—Sir—to tell me what is true?
That you will not betray me—it is needless to ask—since Honor is it's own pawn—
About the author:
1830-86. Dickinson lived her life in Amherst, Massachusetts, becoming, as she's famously known now, progressively reclusive. After her death, her sister discovered over 1000 poems in her bureau.
In 1862, Thomas Higginson, a well-known literary critic, published "Letter to a Young Contributor" in the Atlantic Monthly. Dickinson wrote to Higginson, asking if her "Verse is alive." She included four poems: "Safe in their Alabaster Chambers," "The nearest Dream recedes unrealized," "We play at Paste," and "I'll tell you how the Sun rose."
Learn more about Emily Dickinson at Wikipedia.
For further reading:
See the complete list of work by Emily Dickinson at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 5, No. 3, where "Letter to Thomas Higginson on 15 April 1862" ran on September 12, 2005. List other work with these same labels: nonfiction, classic, cover letter.