Watch an Animated Film of Emily Dickinson’s Poem ‘I Started Early–Took My Dog’

Today is the birthday of Emily Dickinson, an extraordinarily shy woman who rarely left her house but whose poems have gone out to meet the world.

Dickinson’s poetry is widely celebrated for its beauty and originality. As her biographer at the Poetry Foundation Web site writes, “To make the abstract tangible, to define meaning without confining it, to inhabit a house that never became a prison, Dickinson created in her writing a distinctively elliptical language for expressing what was possible but not yet realized.”

To celebrate Dickinson’s birthday (she was born on December 10, 1830) we bring you this little film of her poem, “I Started Early–Took My Dog,” from the “Poetry Everywhere” series by PBS and the Poetry Foundation. The poem is animated by Maria Vasilkovsky and read by actress Blair Brown. You can also read the poem for yourself here.

Related content:

Bill Murray Reads Emily Dickinson to Construction Workers

A Second, Previously Unknown Photo of Emily Dickinson Emerges

Find Emily Dickinson Poetry in our Free Audio Books and Free eBooks collections

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Comments (5)
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  • There seems to me a mistake in the last stanza. I have checked both Franklin and Johnson and they both have:

    Until We met the Solid Town –
    NO One He seemed to know-

    You have: No Man He seemed to know-

    Hope this helps?


    • Mike Springer says:

      Hi Peter,
      It’s interesting that you caught that. It does seem to be a mistake. I did a quick Web search and I see that the “No man” wording comes up in a few places, including one page that refers to a 1924 edition of Dickinson’s complete poems. So apparently it was an early mistake that was corrected in later editions.

  • Stephen Dragan says:


  • Angelabsurdist says:

    Truly lovely. Emily Dickinson is my favourite poet. I refer her as the “poet of paradox”. A poignant and piercing article and film. Thank you.

  • The Unknown Woman says:

    Sharp ear Peter!

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