How to Write like Emily Dickinson

I was searching up poets who tried to take on her style, and I only found Claude Davis III’s version over here:

It’s always black
When the sun drops down
Until the stars attack
The unaware sky

The moon creeps out
Leaving the blocking cloud
With the night now lit up
The crickets jump in a crowd

No violas, No violins
Only one instrument
The cricket’s crick
Music better than an orchestra

Everything good must end
And the frog knows this well
Some crickets flee, others defend
The crickets left to die in the end

Which is wrong of course. Firstly there’s too much a focus on imagery, and there isn’t any witty turn. Just because Dickinson loved to anthropomorphize things doesn’t meant that merely doing that is enough. Neither is it enough to make a comment on stuff like Death at the end – especially in such a lame way like “Everything good must end” – a cliché. Also there’s the whole dashes and capitalizations thing, to create rhythm.

On the other hand, if you wanted to do the Dickinson Sublime – this is how:


I take my Breath as Coda –
Of Notes – my Wishes sure –
Ovation – the Digger’s Dirt –
My Encore – Silence Pure –

Birds have their Song as Bards
Till – Falling from the Trees –
A Tuppence paid is Plenty –
Spectator Clouds – See –

But my Soul – the Anima –
Can barely – Skyward sing –
A Locked Door to Nature –
Viewing Room – the Mind –

I Sing my Song to Silence –
The Well behind the Sky –
Where my Brain is Tuppence cast,
In Hope – that Death may Die –


Weightless was the Concord –
That paid me to the Earth –
Everlasting – Momentary –
Vertically Blest –

My Mother kindly bore me –
Her Wishes – mine own –
Transfigurated into Mine –
A Capital Conquest –

Life was the Silver City –
I Took – I did not Seek –
I Found the Highway Splendid –
And Swam the Silver Stream –

A day I will be Leaving –
Upon a Golden Stair –
I will not Walk – I will be Dust –
Carried in Ascent –


I Speak in Parenthetical –
Ardor – cannot Contain –
Order – too, would Abstain –
And thus – the highest Pure –

I Laugh in Fleeting modes –
Quicker than the Waves –
Even Wind’s Countenance –
Would – Surprising – Swerve

I became the Smallest Unit –
And Everything – Attained –
Even darker Monstrances
Would kinder Light – Remain –

There is no door unopened –
No Life – Mine – Outlast –
I Became the World of Worlds –
Within the World of Dust –


From the Story I abstain –
The Characterization – Wicked –
The Setting – Well & Done –
The Vowels – Pushed & Creaked –

In a Crack – A Little Path
Out of the Open Book –
I call – “Ace in the Sleeve” –
I hold in it my Pride –

I have palmed a Dreaming Card –
The Stalwart Venturer –
I read the Pages in-between –
And move through Centuries –

A Book endow – a Millionfold –
The Pages I have fit –
To chase the Universal Hue –
The Road all Ventures lit –

And these are how you pull off variations to the style:


Decay is the Long Contract –
My Body early Signed –
That if my Life had Left Me –
Into the Gears I Grind –

The Blowflies are the Workers –
And Bacterium – their Aide –
My Flesh is Freshly Liquefied –
Too Simple to be Named –

Where I once was Eating –
Now I am what I Ate –
Paint me on the Canvas,
The Greatest Gou-a-che –

Manufacture – Nature –
In Variegated Dyes –
My Utility is thusly Made
For Artistic Fungi –


I – an Apparition –
Floating through the House –
Paused before the cupboard –
Saw your morning dress –

You will Wake in – Pleasing –
Dresses with Ghost-touched –
Breath of Ghost wishes –
And Bodiless Grief –

Comfortable Kisses
Linger on the Hem –
As I – the flower Lost
Borne without a Stem –

Fleeting fly of Mind –
Disjunct from your Time –
But you Reminded me –
Of Mem’ry’s Reverie –


The Nightmare is an Anagram –
Your Name – Rearranged –
Cloudsbillows – in Sleepless Head –
The Thundering Storms of God –

Shem Ha-Mephorash –
Exists the Magic Word –
The Spell is made of Memory –
Shame & Fear – The Sword

The Formalized – Paganic –
Rites – A Power Said –
Answer to the Anxious
God your Self has made –


Hunter, bearer
Wolf of Arms –
Gliding slowly
In the glen,

Snow would catch
Upon your mask
Dirt would mold
Into your hem –

Follow shadow
Dusk of stars –
The golden bound,

Cross the hills
On footless pace
Be an ant
In argent dust –


In a Land of Bot-copters
The Hero is Real –
You may have met him –
Limp & Pale –

He’s isn’t Heracles –
But he’s our Guy –
Unassuming in Form –
With Smile slightly Sly –

He’s probably buying,
Grandmother new treats –
At work, he mans
Weaponized UAVs –

He isn’t Heracles,
But he got his degree,
So he’s our Hero –
Wish him well –


When the Country falls in Defcon-One –
I choose Diplomacy –
Despite the Nuclear Warheads –
Aimed straight at me –

Play Treaty from my Garden –
With Stately men in Gown –
Fingers on the Button – But –
I’ll keep Defences Down –

Pacifism is the Answer – But –
The Question isn’t Here –
Pacifism – An Imagined World –
While M.A.D. is Real –


Dawn’s celestial wandering –
Unbeknownst to the Sun,
The day has once again begun –
The Plenitude has come –

The Moon – the little sneak thief –
Stole the Promethean Flame –
And became the Sun this time,
She whispered love to Man –

“I have been sitting kindly,
But years are long to strive,
When I play the lesser part
Amongst the two Divines”

The Godly wife wept Kindly –
She knew her time had come –
The angry Sun came hurtling
With Fists of Steel in arm –

Never forget the Moon – Our Love
When henpecked by the Sun –
When the fires burn too strong to bear –
Our Nightly Mistress – Come!


Before a Dark Picasso –
I understood – the Form –
Of the heckling Heckler –
Could See – what he Saw –

A face turned Rightwards – Leftly –
And Two-Faced – Turns to Three –
Six Faces on a Die –
Rolling Gently –

A Contextual Circus –
That Man is – Hand in Hand –
The Grandeur of his Bearing –
The Fevers he Commands –


Malice is the carted grime
To avenues of Sorrow –
Houses plastered with it,
Lack tomorrow to be seen –

I live out in a cul-de-sac
That ends the sorrowed streets –
Bring the malice over here –
A hearty bounty keep,

For happiness – when at an end –
Takes the sorrow down –
I know all modality –
Thus my mode is – Calm

Malice – mere potential,
To commit to crooked wraths –
But I know all modality –
And have been given all the paths