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August 20th, 2014 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 278,879 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
37119 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 524 Comments
36817 Well, I Have Lost You Comments and analysis of Well, I Have Lost You by Edna St. Vincent Millay 275 Comments
24662 Conscientious Objector Comments and analysis of Conscientious Objector by Edna St. Vincent Millay 251 Comments
23606 The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver Comments and analysis of The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay 275 Comments
18437 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 4 Comments
16661 Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree Comments and analysis of Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
15437 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 27 Comments
14634 Spring Comments and analysis of Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay 214 Comments
14629 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 8 Comments
14101 Renascence Comments and analysis of Renascence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 26 Comments
14041 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 36 Comments
13263 I Shall Forget You Presently Comments and analysis of I Shall Forget You Presently by Edna St. Vincent Millay 462 Comments
12932 A Visit To The Asylum Comments and analysis of A Visit To The Asylum by Edna St. Vincent Millay 78 Comments
12770 Prayer To Persephone Comments and analysis of Prayer To Persephone by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
12533 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig  by Edna St. Vincent Millay 89 Comments
12353 I Think I Should Have Loved You Comments and analysis of I Think I Should Have Loved You by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
12086 And do you think that love itself Comments and analysis of And do you think that love itself by Edna St. Vincent Millay 23 Comments
11724 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 4 Comments
11352 Departure Comments and analysis of Departure by Edna St. Vincent Millay 431 Comments
11271 Afternoon On A Hill Comments and analysis of Afternoon On A Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay 277 Comments
10768 Being Young And Green Comments and analysis of Being Young And Green by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
10612 God's World Comments and analysis of God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay 236 Comments
10304 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 55 Comments
9890 City Trees
9855 Justice Denied In Massachusetts Comments and analysis of Justice Denied In Massachusetts by Edna St. Vincent Millay 213 Comments
9813 Elegy Before Death Comments and analysis of Elegy Before Death by Edna St. Vincent Millay 27 Comments
9482 Journey Comments and analysis of Journey by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
9403 The Leaf And The Tree
9264 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
9170 Ashes Of Life Comments and analysis of Ashes Of Life by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
9099 Elegy Comments and analysis of Elegy by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
9019 The Suicide Comments and analysis of The Suicide by Edna St. Vincent Millay 55 Comments
8951 Autumn Daybreak
8755 The Dream Comments and analysis of The Dream by Edna St. Vincent Millay 251 Comments
8595 Feast Comments and analysis of Feast by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
8527 Sorrow Comments and analysis of Sorrow by Edna St. Vincent Millay 56 Comments
8300 Alms Comments and analysis of Alms by Edna St. Vincent Millay 8 Comments
8077 Sonnet 06: Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Sonnet 06: Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 216 Comments
7979 Sonnet (Women Have Loved Before As I Love Now)
7882 Ode To Silence Comments and analysis of Ode To Silence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
7853 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
7520 Night Is My Sister, And How Deep In Love
7443 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 47 Comments
7334 The Concert
7304 Burial
7295 Chorus Comments and analysis of Chorus by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
7244 The Fawn Comments and analysis of The Fawn by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
7205 Witch-Wife Comments and analysis of Witch-Wife by Edna St. Vincent Millay 72 Comments
7101 The Goose-Girl Comments and analysis of The Goose-Girl by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
7013 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 31 Comments
6907 Assault Comments and analysis of Assault by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
6434 Exiled Comments and analysis of Exiled by Edna St. Vincent Millay 207 Comments
6302 Wild Swans Comments and analysis of Wild Swans by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6218 Indifference
6172 Portrait By a Neighbor
6032 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 20 Comments
6026 Intention To Escape From Him
5967 Epitaph
5963 The Death Of Autumn
5813 Grown Up
5710 The Snow Storm
5701 Sonnets 07: When I Too Long Have Looked Upon Your Face
5693 Thursday Comments and analysis of Thursday by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
5665 To the Not Impossible Him Comments and analysis of To the Not Impossible Him by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
5659 The True Encounter Comments and analysis of The True Encounter by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5592 Eel-Grass Comments and analysis of Eel-Grass by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
5590 The Little Ghost Comments and analysis of The Little Ghost by Edna St. Vincent Millay 203 Comments
5549 Love, Though for This
5510 Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5483 Sonnets 10: Oh, My Beloved, Have You Thought Of This
5439 Interim Comments and analysis of Interim by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
5326 When The Year Grows Old
5314 Weeds Comments and analysis of Weeds by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5256 Sonnets 06: No Rose That In A Garden Ever Grew
5213 The Unexplorer
5117 Not Even My Pride Shall Suffer Much
5111 The Curse
5033 Souvenir Comments and analysis of Souvenir by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4998 Inland
4972 Menses Comments and analysis of Menses by Edna St. Vincent Millay 7 Comments
4970 Kin To Sorrow
4912 Ebb
4840 Make Bright The Arrows Comments and analysis of Make Bright The Arrows by Edna St. Vincent Millay 44 Comments
4829 Passer Mortuus Est
4799 To A Poet That Died Young
4702 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
4678 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4675 Sonnets 09: Let You Not Say Of Me When I Am Old
4647 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
4596 Daphne
4591 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 31 Comments
4575 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
4520 Think Not, Not For A Moment Let Your Mind
4520 MacDougal Street Comments and analysis of MacDougal Street by Edna St. Vincent Millay 25 Comments
4505 Rosemary Comments and analysis of Rosemary by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4470 To Those Without Pity
4468 To Kathleen
4350 Blight
4299 The Little Hill
4237 Sonnets 12: Cherish You Then The Hope I Shall Forget
4223 Doubt No More That Oberon Comments and analysis of Doubt No More That Oberon by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4151 Sonnets 01: We Talk Of Taxes, And I Call You Friend
4142 Scrub Comments and analysis of Scrub by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4096 If Still Your Orchards Bear
4075 Mist In The Valley Comments and analysis of Mist In The Valley by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
3994 Sonnets 05: Once More Into My Arid Days Like Dew
3994 The Betrothal
3980 The Blue-Flag In The Bog Comments and analysis of The Blue-Flag In The Bog by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
3945 The Wood Road Comments and analysis of The Wood Road by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
3944 Memorial To D.C.
3920 Invocation To The Muses
3896 The Merry Maid
3881 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 213 Comments
3807 The Shroud Comments and analysis of The Shroud by Edna St. Vincent Millay 25 Comments
3773 The Return From Town Comments and analysis of The Return From Town by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
3756 The Prisoner
3662 She is Overheard Singing Comments and analysis of She is Overheard Singing by Edna St. Vincent Millay 13 Comments
3628 The Poet And His Book Comments and analysis of The Poet And His Book by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
3517 My Most Distinguished Guest And Learned Friend
3496 Three Songs Of Shattering
3470 Sonnet 04: Not In This Chamber Only At My Birth
3362 Daphne
3335 The Penitent Comments and analysis of The Penitent by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
3332 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 1 Comment
3310 To S. M. Comments and analysis of To S. M. by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
3297 Lines Written In Recapitulation Comments and analysis of Lines Written In Recapitulation by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
3248 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
3235 The Penitent
3135 Sonnets 11: As To Some Lovely Temple, Tenantless
3083 The Singing-Woman from the Wood's Edge
3024 Tavern
2955 Pastoral
2935 The Fledgling
2802 The Unexplorer
2781 Underground System
2621 Whereas At Morning In A Jeweled Crown Comments and analysis of Whereas At Morning In A Jeweled Crown by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
2451 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 12 Comments
1567 Lament Comments and analysis of Lament by Edna St. Vincent Millay 280 Comments
1150 The Spring And The Fall Comments and analysis of The Spring And The Fall by Edna St. Vincent Millay 219 Comments
1050 Love Is Not All Comments and analysis of Love Is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay 72 Comments
959 Recuerdo Comments and analysis of Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay 501 Comments
871 Modern Declaration Comments and analysis of Modern Declaration by Edna St. Vincent Millay 58 Comments
836 Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry Comments and analysis of Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
810 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 292 Comments
775 An Ancient Gesture Comments and analysis of An Ancient Gesture by Edna St. Vincent Millay 757 Comments
635 Dirge Without Music Comments and analysis of Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
518 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
514 Apostrophe To Man Comments and analysis of Apostrophe To Man by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
495 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 217 Comments
411 Grown Up Comments and analysis of Grown Up by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
404 Two Sonnets In Memory
402 Mariposa Comments and analysis of Mariposa by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
357 The Plaid Dress Comments and analysis of The Plaid Dress by Edna St. Vincent Millay 62 Comments
355 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 50 Comments
342 Song Of A Second April Comments and analysis of Song Of A Second April by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
322 Wraith Comments and analysis of Wraith by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
318 Sonnet 03: Mindful Of You The Sodden Earth In Spring
307 Low-Tide
297 Oh, Think Not I Am Faithful
287 Dirge
269 Travel Comments and analysis of Travel by Edna St. Vincent Millay 269 Comments
266 Portrait By A Neighbour
243 I Know The Face Of Falsehood And Her Tongue
233 To The Not Impossible Him
232 The Bean-Stalk


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