Edited by Thomas H. Johnson
Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
*Homestead. Dickinson family home on Main Street in Amherst. Most of Dickinson’s poems employ the imagery of the domestic sphere. Yet she possesses the New England Puritan typological imagination that beholds cosmic meanings in homely images. Everyday events become, through metaphor, intense psychological states. She can comment that “The Bustle in a House/ The Morning after Death/ Is solemnest of industries/ Enacted upon Earth–.” The household imagery used to describe feelings so profound provides much of the impact of her poems. Home was, to Dickinson, her natural place, and to her imaginative vision, the source of the “types” of ineffable psychological states.
*Homestead grounds. Garden and meadow near the Dickinson home. Dickinson’s store of images brims over with the natural phenomena of her gardens. The robin, she declares, is her “Criterion for Tune–/ Because [she] grow[s]–where Robins do–.” Daisies, roses, and bees abound in her poetic garden, as well as berries, carnations, maples, gentians, butterflies, anemones, orioles, whippoorwills, and violets–all found in the immediate surroundings of the house.
*Amherst cemetery. Community graveyard that is within walking distance of the Homestead. Dickinson must have contemplated the cemetery many times as funeral processions passed, as some of her poems testify. A few are spoken from the grave, as shown in lines “I died for Beauty,” and “I heard a Fly buzz–when I died.”