Emily Dickinson as a poet of nature

Question: Discuss Emily Dickinson as a poet of nature. Or, Discuss Dickinson’s attitude to nature. Emily Dickinson as a poet of nature.


Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) is not a poet of nature in the conventional sense. She lived a life of secrecy and self-selected captivity. Human society was never a matter of interest to her. On the contrary, she found comfort and solace in nature. She is a poet of nature with a conspicuous difference and the study about her as a poet of nature is really a matter of scholarly interest years after years.

The phenomenon of heavenly pleasure

Dickinson has written a poem based on nature and the natural world. To get heavenly pleasure, she respects nature as a phenomenon. In her poems, nature reveals the mysticism of God, immortality, and death. In her celebrated poem, “I Taste a Liquor never Brewed”, she recounts the natural beauty. Again, in this poem, she exposes the hidden reality of immortality. The poet is enjoying the summer season. To enjoy the beauty of summer, she drinks a liquid that tastes like wine and tastier than alcohol that is made beside the river Rhine. It provides pleasure and excitement to the poet more than honey.

“Inebriate of air – am I –

And Debauchee of Dew –”

Thus, nature is a real source to Dickinson for heavenly pleasure.

Nature with the mystic concept

In her earlier poems, Dickinson found nature as a mother, and then she found nature mocking at the man but finally discovers a mysterious link between man and nature. To get close contact with God, she depicts the mystic concept of nature. The mystic concept of nature has been well expressed in the poem “I Taste a Liquor Never Brewed”. The poet is drunk with the beauty of nature. From the mystic point of view, she presents the sun as a lamp post. Dickinson presents nature in her love poems. In “Wild Nights Wild Nights”, she talks about the sea which is most probably situated in heaven.

Rowing in Eden –

Ah – the Sea!

Might I but moor – tonight –

In thee!

“Because I could not stop for death” is especially based on immortality and death. She can see the playing children, green fields, and the sunset which represents childhood, youth, and old age. Thus, the representation of nature exposes the romanticism of Dickinson, but she never forgets to exercise mysticism.

Rowing in Eden –

Ah – the Sea!

Might I but moor – tonight –

In thee!

Realization and Introspection

To Dickinson, nature is a medium through which she attempts to realize herself. Her poems on nature are an exploration into the undiscovered continent of the poet’s self. Nature is an exquisite blend of the human spirit and the divine that means a fusion between the finite and the infinite.


Emily Dickinson is often called American Romantic. According to the concept of the Romantic Movement, Dickinson’s poems are reminiscent of true tranquility, but nature did not give rise to any philosophy in the poet’s mind. There is no systematic philosophy in the case of treatment of nature in the poems of Dickinson like Wordsworth’s pantheism. Rather Emily compares people to the world of nature.

Keen observation and close associations

Dickinson’s keen observation and close associations with nature provided her the chance to present the neglected and grotesque aspects of nature. The rat, the mushroom, the fly, the bat, the snake, the frog, the stones, all are enlivened before us through Emily’s Poems. The Romantics avoided these aspects, the moralists ignored; but Emily Dickinson found in them the true representation of nature. The poem “A Bird Came Down the Walk” illustrates this point. Thus, such intense observation and close associations with objects of nature make Emily Dickinson refusing to employ nature as a guide for moral behavior.


Emily Dickinson is a popular poet of nature. She paints nature on the canvas of solitude. Unlike most of the poets of her era, Dickinson was not under the influence of big romanticists such as Keats, Shelley, or Wordsworth. Dickinson uses nature to practice human love which gives her poetry a rare aroma.

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SR Sarker
SR Sarker
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