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Classical Sprouts: Emily Dickinson

From ancient Greece to the Harlem Renaissance, poetry has been inspiring composers for centuries.

And with more than 1800 poems, American poet Emily Dickinson's words live on through an especially large breadth of musical works!

Dickinson shared most of her poems in letters to family members and friends - only 10 were published during her lifetime.

She lived a secluded life and wrote reflective poems, many of which were based on her keen observations of nature.

Her writing didn't follow literary conventions; she often used dashes rather than periods and commas and capitalized words in the middles of sentences.

Composers like Aaron Copland, George Walker, Eric Whitacre and Gwyneth Walker set Dickinson's poems to music.

Listen to the episode to learn more about how they depicted Dickinson's words with music.

Listen to more musical settings of Dickinson's poems and take a tour of her house while you're at it!

Many of Emily Dickinson's handwritten poems still survive, like this one, "Forbidden fruit a flavor has."

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Classical Sprouts is produced by Emily Duncan Wilson. Kacie Brown is the digital content manager.

Kate Botello is a host and producer at Classical IPR.
Emily Duncan Wilson produces the Classical Sprouts podcast.