Emily Dickinson was always at her best when she wrote about things she knew about, things that had actually happened in her sheltered, private life. And she was at her very best of all when she wrote about them in terms of the world she knew. No other poet of the Fireside years wrote about the world from a woman's point of view - because none of the other Fireside Poets were women. No other poet of that era wrote about loss the way Emily did; because all the other Fireside Poets were successful, popular men - who had made a name for themselves. Whatever griefs or disappointments the Fireside Poets suffered, they were always successful celebrities. They lived in celebrity world (this is why their poems seem so cold and distant today).
Emily was never a celebrity. She lived an ordinary life, though she had less joy in it than most of us experience. Emily knew what it was to do without, and she knew what it was not to be famous - in fact to be negligible (the way women were in the 1860's).
As she shows in this poem:
If you were coming in the fall,
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.
If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.
If only centuries delayed,
I'd count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemens land.
If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I'd toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.
But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time's uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.