When something is most important to me and I do not want to lose it, I gather it into a poem. It is said that women must employ the needle and not the pen. But I will be a Poet! That's who I am!

Before she was an iconic American poet, Emily Dickinson was a spirited girl eager to find her place in the world. Expected by family and friends to mold to the prescribed role for women in mid-1800s New England, Emily was challenged to define herself on her own terms.


Award-winning author Barbara Dana brilliantly imagines the girlhood of this extraordinary young woman, capturing the cadences of her unique voice and bringing her to radiant life.

“Persuasive and compelling…utterly authentic…does full justice to its complex, challenging subject who, like this novel, was sui generis.” - Kirkus Reviews (starred)



An Introduction

To Emily Dickinson




click here


“Since I am only eleven, I really liked how I could compare my childhood to hers (Emily Dickinson’s), which I think Barbara Dana did a great job on—making it realistic. I think this is an amazing book for kids to read who want to learn more about Emily Dickinson. It gives you a lot of facts, but it is also entertaining and enjoyable.”

- Emily Dickinson For Kids

“Dana succeeds by creating a memorable, often vibrant voice in Emily’s first person narration, which incorporates archaic language and lines from Dickinson’s poems and journals. This heartfelt, exhaustively detailed portrait humanizes the reclusive literary figure and offers an intimate sense of how a poet draws from small moments, ‘gathered on scraps’, to create great works.” - ALA Booklist


“…touching…heartfelt…for thoughtful readers, a treasure.” - Horn Book (starred)


"Wonderfully humane and enriching." - Jane Eberwein, Distinguished Professor of English, Oakland University

“…excellent and readable and many other good things…Your approach as the first Voice feels so right. You’ve taken Emily’s sensitivity and made sense of her uniqueness and singular personality.”  - William Luce, playwright, author of The Belle of Amherst


“I am stunned – literally – by how perfect the voice is. Absolutely a tour de force.”

 - Joy Ladin, Dickinson scholar; holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English and directs the Writing Center at Stern College of Yeshiva University.



“Almost everyone who reads your beautiful work, must have done, as I had, gone back to the poetry again and, surprise! I found I knew Emily better, understood her in a deeply human sense. Now, she had a childhood. I found my love of Dickinson had grown after reading your book." -Fritz Weaver, actor


“I love it. I love it because you know her work so well you are able to use her phrases and images as you write the lines. I feel such elation when I too recognize the lines. Yes, I feel on home ground. I feel I am listening to an old friend who knows my friend.”

- Marion Woodman, PH. D, a leader in feminine development and a Jungian analyst, lecturer and author of several acclaimed books, including  Addiction to Perfection, The Pregnant Virgin and Leaving  My Father’s House.


“A beautiful, remarkable book! I found it immediately hard to put down. Perhaps because I’m familiar with Emily’s writing and from page one I am convinced she wrote what I am reading. It presages brilliance… A treasure!”

- M. David Samples, director, teacher of high school English


I was knocked out by your book, so beautifully written and so completely capturing Emily, her time and place. I have given it as gifts and spoken to my classes about it. I’ve read to them from it; what it is to be an artist, viscerally feeling it when you become one with the “object”, finding one’s own voice. It’s helped me to understand something about why and what I teach. I thought about myself, and finding my own voice both on stage and off. The book has meant so much to me.”

- Rochelle Oliver, actor, acting teacher, HB Studio, NYC