Study Guide

I heard a Fly buzz – when I died – Calling Card

By Emily Dickinson

Calling Card

Spooky Topics, Intense Emotions, and Lots o’ Dashes

Emily Dickinson always sprinkles those funny dashes throughout her poems. As long as the editor left them in, it’s a pretty surefire way to tell it’s one of hers. Her poems also tend to be short, usually not much more than twenty lines. Their rhythm is usually iambic meter, often in the pattern we see here, an eight-syllable line followed by a six-syllable line. In addition, she often picks topics like death, insanity, and wild emotion. Although there’s a lot of subtle variety between her poems, Dickinson is generally a pretty consistent, recognizable poet.