Author: Emily Dickinson


Emily Dickinson (1830–86) came from a prominent family in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her father was a Yale-educated lawyer who also served as a state legislator and a one-term congressman. Dickinson spent seven years at Amherst Academy, enjoying many unique educational opportunities because of the school’s connection to nearby Amherst College. She took classes in English, classical literature, botany, geology, history, philosophy, and arithmetic. After finishing at Amherst Academy, she enrolled at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, but left after just one year. For the remainder of her life, Dickinson stayed secluded at her house in Amherst, never marrying or having children. Her many poems were not published during her life, and some were never completed. It was only after her death that her work became revered by literary critics and the general public.

Tell All the Truth But Tell It Slant

Emily Dickinson

With its paradoxical first lines, Emily Dickinson’s elliptical poem #1129, “Tell all the truth but tell it slant” (1868) is widely considered to be a key statement of her own approach to writing poetry.