40 Emily Dickinson Quotes on Life, Hope & Inspiration

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Emily Dickenson is one of the most influential poets in American history. She lived from 1830 to 1886, and despite writing nearly 1800 poems, only 10 of them were ever published during her lifetime.

But since her death, her works have been celebrated not just in America but around the world.

Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, Emily Dickinson’s poetry is regarded as pivotal in American literature. Her measured observations of the world around her and her unique perspective of life made her work quite unlike anything that came before it.

Born into a prominent New England family, Dickinson lived a relatively privileged life, but it was tinged with suffering non the less. She lived through the bloody Civil War and lost many of her friends and loved ones throughout her life.

This pain and suffering shows through in a lot of her writing, but she also celebrated the beauty she saw in her surroundings.  

Emily Dickenson loved nature, and much of her extensive collection of works explore what she saw as the astounding beauty of the natural world.

Despite being a rather reserved character, Emily Dickinson’s work is famous for its non-conformism. She regularly broke structural and grammatical rules in ways that hadn’t really been seen up to that point. Her unique style broke the mold, and she’s widely regarded as a feminist ahead of her time.

I’ve put together a list of my 40 favorite Emily Dickinson quotes about life, hope, and inspiration.

Emily Dickinson Quotes

Emily Dickinson quotes

“The Heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care”

 “Truth is so rare, it is delightful to tell it.”

“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.”

“Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.”

 “Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul

And sings the tune without the words

And never stops at all.”

“Morning without you is a dwindled dawn.”

 “Forever is composed of nows.”

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.”

 “Not knowing when the dawn will come

I open every door.”

“Saying nothing sometimes says the most.”

 “I dwell in possibility…”

 “Nature is a haunted house–but Art–is a house that tries to be haunted.”

 “To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”

“Beauty is not caused. It is.”

 “Pardon My Sanity In A World Insane”

“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.”

“I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.”

“To hope means to be ready at every moment for that which is not yet born, and yet not become desperate if there is no birth in our lifetime.”

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”

“I am nobody! Who are you? Are you a nobody, too? “

“Till it has loved, no man or woman can become itself.”

“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.”

“We never know how high we are till we are called to rise. Then if we are true to form our statures touch the skies.”

“People need hard times and oppression to develop psychic muscles.”

“Success is counted sweetest by those who never succeed.”

“Old age comes on suddenly, and not gradually as is thought.”

“Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves and immortality.”

“To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, One clover, and a bee, And revery. The revery alone will do, If bees are few.”

“I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven.”

“Luck is not chance, it’s toil; fortune’s expensive smile is earned.”

“They might not need me; but they might. I’ll let my head be just in sight; a smile as small as mine might be precisely their necessity.”

“Hold dear to your parents for it is a scary and confusing world without them.”

“We turn not older with years but newer every day.”

“Love is anterior to life, posterior to death, initial of creation, and the exponent of breath.”

“Tell the truth, but tell it slant.”

“Nature is our eldest mother; she will do no harm.”

“Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves and immortality.”

“He ate and drank the precious Words, his Spirit grew robust; He knew no more that he was poor, nor that his frame was Dust.”

“Fortune befriends the bold.”

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”


Dickinson’s work has had a profound and lasting influence on modern poetry. Her short but poignant lines on life, hope, and inspiration still strike a chord with readers today.

I hope you enjoyed these inspirational Emily Dickinson quotes. Do you have a favorite Emily Dickinson quote? Let me know in the comments below!

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