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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