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Wild Nights – Wild Nights! | Emily Dickinson, 1861

 Emily Dickinson "Wild nights" manuscript


Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
In thee!

Emily Dickinson, Wild Nights – Wild Nights!, 1861

Dickinson's posthumous editor Thomas Wentworth Higginson thought the poem was too erotic 
for a woman he deemed pure and was initially reluctant to print the poem, "lest the malignant 
read into it more than that virgin recluse ever dream of putting there"*. Modern readers 
now, however, recognize the poem as one of her most erotic and find in the text Dickinson's
 understanding of sexual passion.

* Leiter, Sharon. Critical Companion to Emily Dickinson: A Literary Reference to Her Life and Work. 
New York: Facts on File, Inc., 2007


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