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April 26th, 2018 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 327,551 comments.
Biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892 - 1950)

Edna St. Vincent Millay, born in 1892 in Maine, grew to become one of the premier twentieth-century lyric poets. She was also an accomplished playwright and speaker who often toured giving readings of her poetry. All of that was in her public life, but her private life was equally interesting. An unconventional childhood led into an unconventional adulthood. She was an acknowledged bisexual who carried on many affairs with women, an affection for which is sometimes evident in her poems and plays. She did marry, but even that part of her life was somewhat unusual, with the marriage being quite open, and extramarital affairs, though not documented, are quite probable.

At the young age of seven, Edna's mother asked her husband to leave the family home. After that point he held a negligible role in the girl's life. Edna and her two sisters moved, with their mother, to Newburyport, Massachusetts where, to Edna's delight, she was given piano lessons. Edna (who insisted on being called Vincent and who even entered writing contests under that name) and her sisters were encouraged in their literary and musical leanings by their mother. Then, in highschool, Millay's interests expanded to include theater. She performed in numerous plays and wrote a Halloween play for her classmates to act out.

Millay enjoyed her free-spirited childhood and adolescence and the creativity that it inspired. At the age of twenty, she entered her poem "Renascence" into a poetry contest for the The Lyric Year, a contest from which 100 poems were to be chosen to be published. It was, at first, overlooked as being too simplistic, however, one of the judges took a second look at it and the poem, now one of her most well known, ended up winning fourth place. It was that poem which really started her on her literary career, beginning with a scholarship to the then all female college of Vassar.

Millay kept up her writing, both poetic and dramatic while at Vassar. It was during this time that she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for her book The Harp-Weaver and other Poems. Also during her college career she broadened her sexual horizons to include relationships with women. The most notable of these affairs was one with the English actress Wynne Matthison. Matthison was not the only woman she was involved with, though, and she kept in contact with some of them throughout her life.

Millay's first book of poetry, Renascence and Other Poems was published in 1917 and well received. Then A Few Figs from Thistles was published in 1922 and sparked some attention as well as controversy with its feminist leanings. In particular the poems within maintained that the sexual freedom formerly commandeered by men was equally valid for women. This feeling is particularly obvious in the sonnet beginning "What lips my lips have kissed,".

Keep in mind that all of this was accomplished during Millay's college years! After graduation the woman moved to Greenwich Village in New York, a particularly free-thinking and artistic borough. She kept up her writing as well as her involvements with women, but also began to take men as lovers though it would seem that none of them were able to "sway" her from her natural lesbian leanings. The following paragraph is quoted from another web page dedicated to Edna St. Vincent Millay, which is located at Sappho.com.

In Great Companions, Max Eastman relates an interesting story about Millay that, if true, reveals something of her attitude about own sexuality. According to Eastman, while at a cocktail party Millay discussed her recurrent headaches with a psychologist. He asked her, "I wonder if it has ever occurred to you that you might perhaps, although you are hardly conscious of it, have an occasional impulse toward a person of your own sex?" She responded, "Oh, you mean I'm homosexual! Of course I am, and heterosexual, too, but what's that got to do with my headache?"

Millay did eventually marry Eugen Boissevain, who managed her career and was a great source of support. The marriage, as mentioned above, was agreed to be open and Millay herself said that they maintained their personal freedom, living more as great friends than as husband and wife. Millay, a smoker in an age of smokers, succumbed to her failure in 1950 at her home, Steepletop, in Austerlitz New York. Boissevain, who was considerably older, had died the previous year.



165 Poems written by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The poems are by default sorted according to volume, but you can also choose to sort them alphabetically or by page views.

Volume | Alphabetically | [Page Views] | Comments | First Lines


Page ViewsPoemComments
40355 What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, And Where, And Why (Sonnet XLIII) Comments and analysis of What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, And Where, And Why (Sonnet XLIII) by Edna St. Vincent Millay 558 Comments
21083 I Know I Am But Summer To Your Heart Comments and analysis of I Know I Am But Summer To Your Heart by Edna St. Vincent Millay 21 Comments
17378 Sonnet 02: Time Does Not Bring Relief; You All Have Lied Comments and analysis of Sonnet 02: Time Does Not Bring Relief; You All Have Lied by Edna St. Vincent Millay 46 Comments
16830 Spring Comments and analysis of Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay 222 Comments
16123 I Shall Forget You Presently Comments and analysis of I Shall Forget You Presently by Edna St. Vincent Millay 473 Comments
15736 Renascence Comments and analysis of Renascence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 59 Comments
14113 I Think I Should Have Loved You Comments and analysis of I Think I Should Have Loved You by Edna St. Vincent Millay 10 Comments
13973 If I Should Learn, In Some Quite Casual Way Comments and analysis of If I Should Learn, In Some Quite Casual Way by Edna St. Vincent Millay 23 Comments
12766 Not In A Silver Casket Cool With Pearls Comments and analysis of Not In A Silver Casket Cool With Pearls by Edna St. Vincent Millay 70 Comments
12003 Justice Denied In Massachusetts Comments and analysis of Justice Denied In Massachusetts by Edna St. Vincent Millay 236 Comments
11948 God's World Comments and analysis of God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay 242 Comments
11744 City Trees
11274 Journey Comments and analysis of Journey by Edna St. Vincent Millay 20 Comments
10964 Elegy Comments and analysis of Elegy by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
10719 Autumn Daybreak
10652 Ashes Of Life Comments and analysis of Ashes Of Life by Edna St. Vincent Millay 39 Comments
10537 Feast Comments and analysis of Feast by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
10375 The Leaf And The Tree
10164 Alms Comments and analysis of Alms by Edna St. Vincent Millay 15 Comments
9468 Sonnet 06: Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Sonnet 06: Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 233 Comments
9237 Sonnet (Women Have Loved Before As I Love Now)
9208 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
9196 Ode To Silence Comments and analysis of Ode To Silence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
9011 Sonnet 01: Thou Art Not Lovelier Than Lilacs,óNo Comments and analysis of Sonnet 01: Thou Art Not Lovelier Than Lilacs,óNo by Edna St. Vincent Millay 57 Comments
8939 Witch-Wife Comments and analysis of Witch-Wife by Edna St. Vincent Millay 86 Comments
8770 Night Is My Sister, And How Deep In Love Comments and analysis of Night Is My Sister, And How Deep In Love by Edna St. Vincent Millay 9 Comments
8481 The Goose-Girl Comments and analysis of The Goose-Girl by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
8470 Burial
8414 Sweet Love, Sweet Thorn, When Lightly To My Heart Comments and analysis of Sweet Love, Sweet Thorn, When Lightly To My Heart by Edna St. Vincent Millay 46 Comments
7790 Portrait By a Neighbor
7356 Wild Swans Comments and analysis of Wild Swans by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
7190 To the Not Impossible Him Comments and analysis of To the Not Impossible Him by Edna St. Vincent Millay 11 Comments
7138 Rosemary Comments and analysis of Rosemary by Edna St. Vincent Millay 12 Comments
7114 Sonnet 05: If I Should Learn, In Some Quite Casual Way Comments and analysis of Sonnet 05: If I Should Learn, In Some Quite Casual Way by Edna St. Vincent Millay 26 Comments
7108 Epitaph
7090 Interim Comments and analysis of Interim by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
7011 When The Year Grows Old
6971 Eel-Grass Comments and analysis of Eel-Grass by Edna St. Vincent Millay 9 Comments
6895 Grown Up
6890 The Death Of Autumn
6778 Make Bright The Arrows Comments and analysis of Make Bright The Arrows by Edna St. Vincent Millay 56 Comments
6644 The True Encounter Comments and analysis of The True Encounter by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6642 Thursday Comments and analysis of Thursday by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
6528 Weeds Comments and analysis of Weeds by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
6470 Sonnets 07: When I Too Long Have Looked Upon Your Face
6451 MacDougal Street Comments and analysis of MacDougal Street by Edna St. Vincent Millay 33 Comments
6402 Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6313 Sonnets 10: Oh, My Beloved, Have You Thought Of This Comments and analysis of Sonnets 10: Oh, My Beloved, Have You Thought Of This by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6258 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
6240 Souvenir Comments and analysis of Souvenir by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
6231 Sonnets 06: No Rose That In A Garden Ever Grew
6113 Menses Comments and analysis of Menses by Edna St. Vincent Millay 11 Comments
6102 Not Even My Pride Shall Suffer Much
6101 Kin To Sorrow
6087 Inland
5978 The Curse
5743 Ebb Comments and analysis of Ebb by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5619 Fontaine, Je Ne Boirai Pas De Ton Eau! Comments and analysis of Fontaine, Je Ne Boirai Pas De Ton Eau! by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5617 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
5589 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5520 Daphne
5502 Think Not, Not For A Moment Let Your Mind
5487 Sonnets 09: Let You Not Say Of Me When I Am Old
5417 To Those Without Pity
5378 Scrub Comments and analysis of Scrub by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
5296 Doubt No More That Oberon Comments and analysis of Doubt No More That Oberon by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5194 The Wood Road Comments and analysis of The Wood Road by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5164 The Singing-Woman From The Wood's Edge Comments and analysis of The Singing-Woman From The Wood's Edge by Edna St. Vincent Millay 228 Comments
5120 Mist In The Valley Comments and analysis of Mist In The Valley by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
5045 The Blue-Flag In The Bog Comments and analysis of The Blue-Flag In The Bog by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4980 The Merry Maid
4961 Sonnets 12: Cherish You Then The Hope I Shall Forget
4922 Sonnets 02: Into The Golden Vessel Of Great Song Comments and analysis of Sonnets 02: Into The Golden Vessel Of Great Song by Edna St. Vincent Millay 11 Comments
4881 Memorial To D.C.
4864 The Betrothal
4809 The Shroud Comments and analysis of The Shroud by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
4776 The Penitent Comments and analysis of The Penitent by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
4733 Invocation To The Muses
4713 The Return From Town Comments and analysis of The Return From Town by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4705 She is Overheard Singing Comments and analysis of She is Overheard Singing by Edna St. Vincent Millay 21 Comments
4679 Tavern
4677 The Prisoner
4621 Lament Comments and analysis of Lament by Edna St. Vincent Millay 305 Comments
4554 The Poet And His Book Comments and analysis of The Poet And His Book by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4512 Modern Declaration Comments and analysis of Modern Declaration by Edna St. Vincent Millay 74 Comments
4350 Daphne
4347 Sonnet 04: Not In This Chamber Only At My Birth
4340 My Most Distinguished Guest And Learned Friend
4304 Three Songs Of Shattering
4180 To S. M. Comments and analysis of To S. M. by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
4057 Sonnets 03: Not With Libations, But With Shouts And Laughter Comments and analysis of Sonnets 03: Not With Libations, But With Shouts And Laughter by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4031 Sonnets 11: As To Some Lovely Temple, Tenantless
4018 The Penitent
3885 The Singing-Woman from the Wood's Edge
3875 Pastoral
3805 The Fledgling
3779 Sonnets 04: Only Until This Cigarette Is Ended Comments and analysis of Sonnets 04: Only Until This Cigarette Is Ended by Edna St. Vincent Millay 327 Comments
3748 The Unexplorer
3598 Recuerdo Comments and analysis of Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay 528 Comments
3384 Whereas At Morning In A Jeweled Crown Comments and analysis of Whereas At Morning In A Jeweled Crown by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
3090 Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry Comments and analysis of Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry by Edna St. Vincent Millay 19 Comments
2694 Dirge Without Music Comments and analysis of Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay 48 Comments
2418 Love Is Not All Comments and analysis of Love Is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay 84 Comments
2129 Apostrophe To Man Comments and analysis of Apostrophe To Man by Edna St. Vincent Millay 19 Comments
2043 Travel Comments and analysis of Travel by Edna St. Vincent Millay 290 Comments
1924 The Plaid Dress Comments and analysis of The Plaid Dress by Edna St. Vincent Millay 71 Comments
1649 I Dreamed I Moved Among The Elysian Fields Comments and analysis of I Dreamed I Moved Among The Elysian Fields by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
1609 Departure Comments and analysis of Departure by Edna St. Vincent Millay 461 Comments
1566 Underground System
1549 Song Of A Second April Comments and analysis of Song Of A Second April by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
1523 The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver Comments and analysis of The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay 285 Comments
1510 Oh, Think Not I Am Faithful
1478 Sonnet 03: Mindful Of You The Sodden Earth In Spring Comments and analysis of Sonnet 03: Mindful Of You The Sodden Earth In Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
1447 Low-Tide
1405 Dirge
1317 Exiled Comments and analysis of Exiled by Edna St. Vincent Millay 220 Comments
1268 Wraith Comments and analysis of Wraith by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
1189 Portrait By A Neighbour
1115 And do you think that love itself Comments and analysis of And do you think that love itself by Edna St. Vincent Millay 31 Comments
1094 The Bean-Stalk
1084 An Ancient Gesture Comments and analysis of An Ancient Gesture by Edna St. Vincent Millay 799 Comments
1077 When We Are Old And These Rejoicing Veins Comments and analysis of When We Are Old And These Rejoicing Veins by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
995 To The Not Impossible Him
986 The Little Ghost Comments and analysis of The Little Ghost by Edna St. Vincent Millay 221 Comments
903 Two Sonnets In Memory
883 Chorus Comments and analysis of Chorus by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
877 The Suicide Comments and analysis of The Suicide by Edna St. Vincent Millay 76 Comments
855 Grown Up Comments and analysis of Grown Up by Edna St. Vincent Millay 14 Comments
831 The Concert
824 The Fawn Comments and analysis of The Fawn by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
696 Passer Mortuus Est
694 Elegy Before Death Comments and analysis of Elegy Before Death by Edna St. Vincent Millay 48 Comments
691 I Know The Face Of Falsehood And Her Tongue
552 Well, I Have Lost You Comments and analysis of Well, I Have Lost You by Edna St. Vincent Millay 308 Comments
545 Sonnets 05: Once More Into My Arid Days Like Dew
535 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 13 Comments
521 The Unexplorer
519 Love, Though for This
514 Pity Me Not Because The Light Of Day Comments and analysis of Pity Me Not Because The Light Of Day by Edna St. Vincent Millay 14 Comments
407 Afternoon On A Hill Comments and analysis of Afternoon On A Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay 301 Comments
375 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 54 Comments
371 Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree Comments and analysis of Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree by Edna St. Vincent Millay 17 Comments
356 If Still Your Orchards Bear
354 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig  by Edna St. Vincent Millay 108 Comments
353 Indifference Comments and analysis of Indifference by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
352 Conscientious Objector Comments and analysis of Conscientious Objector by Edna St. Vincent Millay 273 Comments
337 Sonnets 08: And You As Well Must Die, Beloved Dust Comments and analysis of Sonnets 08: And You As Well Must Die, Beloved Dust by Edna St. Vincent Millay 242 Comments
335 The Spring And The Fall Comments and analysis of The Spring And The Fall by Edna St. Vincent Millay 223 Comments
319 A Visit To The Asylum Comments and analysis of A Visit To The Asylum by Edna St. Vincent Millay 104 Comments
272 Lines Written In Recapitulation Comments and analysis of Lines Written In Recapitulation by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
263 Intention To Escape From Him
259 Sorrow Comments and analysis of Sorrow by Edna St. Vincent Millay 79 Comments
256 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 34 Comments
254 Sonnets 01: We Talk Of Taxes, And I Call You Friend
251 Assault Comments and analysis of Assault by Edna St. Vincent Millay 14 Comments
248 Being Young And Green Comments and analysis of Being Young And Green by Edna St. Vincent Millay 18 Comments
245 Mariposa Comments and analysis of Mariposa by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
229 To Kathleen
216 The Little Hill
189 Blight
181 Here Is A Wound That Never Will Heal, I Know Comments and analysis of Here Is A Wound That Never Will Heal, I Know by Edna St. Vincent Millay 57 Comments
177 The Snow Storm
154 The Dream Comments and analysis of The Dream by Edna St. Vincent Millay 265 Comments
89 To A Poet That Died Young
85 Prayer To Persephone Comments and analysis of Prayer To Persephone by Edna St. Vincent Millay 30 Comments


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