Belle of Amherst

This image, just reminds me of something very Emily Dickinson-esque.

Emily Dickinson

This was a Poet — It is That
Distills amazing sense
From ordinary Meanings —
And Attar so immense
From the familiar species
That perished by the Door —
We wonder it was not Ourselves
Arrested it — before —
Of Pictures, the Discloser —
The Poet — it is He —
Entitles Us — by Contrast —
To ceaseless Poverty —
Of portion — so unconscious —
The Robbing — could not harm —
Himself — to Him — a Fortune —
Exterior — to Time —
Was Emily Dickinson a Lesbian?

A question that intrigues scholars and readers alike: was Emily Dickinson a lesbian? While there’s not (to this date, anyway) direct evidence that Dickinson was sexually active with either men or women, she did write passionate letters to women (as did many women of that age). Some historians find this as evidence of what today would be called lesbianism — others point to incidents where she seemed to be in love with men as counter-evidence.

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

3 responses to “Belle of Amherst

  • David K. Popham

    I know that while civil unions and gay marriages are still off the plate for many we have come to the conclsuion that we can categorize sexuality into two camps: straight or gay. I'm wondering if either camp is appropriate for Dickinson – maybe (horror of horrors) she really was asexual. I know few would agree – but there are those who move through life without the need to connect in sexual ways with others. Whether Dickinson fits this description I couldn't say – but it is worth pondering instead of playing the games of the scholars and seeking to fit her into the social construct of gay or straight.

  • JoeBlow

    David, I tend to agree with you. As for physical sexual relations, she was probably and most likely asexual. She was a very reclusive woman. Mentally and emotionally, however, she could probably be considered bisexual. Either way, I love her poetry and have since I read the first one in high school.

  • silvereagle

    Does it really matter? Is "lesbianism" an act or deed or though? The fact that a person may write passionate letters to anyone, male or female, does not establish they are gay, straight, lesbian, or anyother sexual preference. It only establishes they are great writers! Why must we put every person, dead or alive, into a "category" other than that of "human"?

Thank you for commenting. I always want to know what you have to say. However, I have a few rules: 1. Always be kind and considerate to others. 2. Do not degrade other people's way of thinking. 3. I have the right to refuse or remove any comment I deem inappropriate. 4. If you comment on a post that was published over 14 days ago, it will not post immediately. Those comments are set for moderation. If it doesn't break the above rules, it will post.

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