Emily Dickinson: five poems and their effects

Key facts

  • Cost: £90
  • Credits: 0


“Hope” is the thing with feathers - 

That perches in the soul - 

And sings the tune without the words - 

And never stops - at all – 

Emily Dickinson (1830–86)  

In Amherst Massachusetts in the 1800s, American poet Emily Dickinson was considered an eccentric oddity as a women poet, especially one of such rare ability and intense feeling. Famously confined to her family home, Dickinson was inspired by hymns and ballads to experiment with verse, grammar and phrasing to produce profound mystical poems contemplating mortality, gender, family, and societal pressures. Her striking imagery, ‘slant’ rhyme schemes and expressive letters have inspired generations of writers to break boundaries, personally and creatively. Despite a prolific output of 1,800 poems, only 10 were published in her lifetime but her writing continues to find new devotees, with a recent TV series and continued publication of her works.   

Join this course as a newcomer or enthusiast to take a closer look at five of her poems. Guided by our tutor you will explore together Dickinson’s poetic craft and share the insights you find. 

Over a series of talks and collective close-readings, our expert tutor will explain: 

  • key features of Emily Dickinson’s work, her times and her place within broader literary culture  
  • how to analyse five of her poems in-depth  
  • You will also have the chance to discuss and reflect on what you learn with other students and the tutor in seminars 

Choose this course if you want to learn: 

  • more about poetry and the rewards of close reading 
  • more about Emily Dickinson, her contemporary literary culture and legacy.

Who is this course for?

Anyone new to studying literature and interested in: 

  • poetry 
  • Emily Dickinson, writing by women, American literary culture 


None, this is a non-credit course 

Mode of study

This 5-week course will be delivered online via 2-hour seminars led by a tutor over Zoom. 

Course materials will be provided via a shared online folder 


can inform your personal reading list and introduce you to some new literary classics  

Find out more

The University holds open days throughout the year where you can meet with staff to discuss our short course provision. Find out more about University of Glasgow open days