AMHERST, Mass. — The TV show Dickinson is bringing poet Emily Dickinson into the 21st century.
While many people read her works in their younger years, her life story is now part of pop-culture thanks to show creator Alena Smith. She’s portrayed by actress Hailey Steinfield, and the show goes through some fictional stories of what Dickinson’s life could have been like.
“I think what they’ve done in the Dickinson show is to highlight and probably feature and expand a bit on… tendencies that really were there,” said Emily Dickinson Museum executive director Jane Wald.
“The interesting thing I would say about the show is that the retelling the story of Emily Dickinson in a way that’s fresh and cool and a little bit dangerous,” said Dickinson creator and showrunner Alena Smith.
So, who was this real-life person depicted in a modern-day show?
Emily Dickinson was born in the small town of Amhurst, Massachusetts, in 1830. She lived almost her entire life inside her father’s house. Toward the end of her life, she barely left home. She remained mostly unpublished outside of a few anonymous verses, and her poems were found by her sister when she passed away.
“Emily Dickinson is truly one of the world’s greatest poets ever to have written,” Wald said. “She began writing poetry probably as a young woman and hit her stride during a very active set of years between 1858 and 1866. She was also a prolific letter-writer, and her writing style both in her correspondence and in her poetry makes her kind of a standout, a breakaway, an innovator with language and poetic form at the time she was writing.”
You can learn more about Dickinson, her real life, and the Apple TV+ show in the video above. You can also watch the first two episodes of the show here.