Letters to the World: The Correspondence of Helen Hunt Jackson and Emily Dickinson

July 22, 2015

Born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830, Emily Dickinson and Helen Hunt Jackson attended the same primary school, and received similar educational instruction in Philosophy, History, Botany and Latin. Later in life, Jackson, residing in Colorado Springs, would begin a correspondence with Dickinson after being introduced to her work by Atlantic Monthly Editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson. In this correspondence, Jackson would implore the reclusive Dickinson to share her work. With the exception of getting one poem of Dickinson's published anonymously, Jackson was largely unsuccessful. Dickinson's new and unparalleled style would remain undiscovered until her first book of poems was published posthumously in 1890. Jackson and Dickinson, however, would develop a deep appreciation and respect for each other's work during their lives. Following Jackson's death in 1885, Dickinson would write "Helen of Troy will die, but Helen of Colorado, never." 

The relationship between Jackson and Dickinson will be the subject of an upcoming Literary Walk in the Woods in Cheyenne Mountain State Park. Colorado Springs poet Robin Izer will lead the presentation, which will take place Saturday, July 25th. KRCC's Jake Brownell spoke with Izer for last weekend's episode of The Big Something Radio Programme.