Poets | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
September 5th, 2015 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 294,687 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
37759 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 545 Comments
25362 The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver Comments and analysis of The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay 280 Comments
19453 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 7 Comments
17300 Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree Comments and analysis of Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree by Edna St. Vincent Millay 8 Comments
16066 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 34 Comments
15980 Spring Comments and analysis of Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay 219 Comments
15163 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 10 Comments
14726 Renascence Comments and analysis of Renascence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 33 Comments
14398 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 45 Comments
13868 I Shall Forget You Presently Comments and analysis of I Shall Forget You Presently by Edna St. Vincent Millay 466 Comments
13788 Prayer To Persephone Comments and analysis of Prayer To Persephone by Edna St. Vincent Millay 11 Comments
13600 A Visit To The Asylum Comments and analysis of A Visit To The Asylum by Edna St. Vincent Millay 87 Comments
13158 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig  by Edna St. Vincent Millay 96 Comments
12858 I Think I Should Have Loved You Comments and analysis of I Think I Should Have Loved You by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
12245 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 5 Comments
11927 Afternoon On A Hill Comments and analysis of Afternoon On A Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay 292 Comments
11182 Being Young And Green Comments and analysis of Being Young And Green by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
11051 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 59 Comments
11012 God's World Comments and analysis of God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay 241 Comments
10635 Justice Denied In Massachusetts Comments and analysis of Justice Denied In Massachusetts by Edna St. Vincent Millay 223 Comments
10413 City Trees
10355 Elegy Before Death Comments and analysis of Elegy Before Death by Edna St. Vincent Millay 35 Comments
9947 Journey Comments and analysis of Journey by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
9776 The Leaf And The Tree
9660 Ashes Of Life Comments and analysis of Ashes Of Life by Edna St. Vincent Millay 12 Comments
9657 Elegy Comments and analysis of Elegy by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
9461 Autumn Daybreak
9223 The Dream Comments and analysis of The Dream by Edna St. Vincent Millay 260 Comments
9169 Feast Comments and analysis of Feast by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
8889 Sorrow Comments and analysis of Sorrow by Edna St. Vincent Millay 65 Comments
8608 Alms Comments and analysis of Alms by Edna St. Vincent Millay 9 Comments
8427 Sonnet (Women Have Loved Before As I Love Now)
8370 Sonnet 06: Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Sonnet 06: Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 223 Comments
8246 Ode To Silence Comments and analysis of Ode To Silence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
8167 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
7952 Night Is My Sister, And How Deep In Love
7910 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 49 Comments
7755 The Fawn Comments and analysis of The Fawn by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
7647 Witch-Wife Comments and analysis of Witch-Wife by Edna St. Vincent Millay 75 Comments
7637 Burial
7602 The Goose-Girl Comments and analysis of The Goose-Girl by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
7308 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 33 Comments
7176 Assault Comments and analysis of Assault by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
7128 Exiled Comments and analysis of Exiled by Edna St. Vincent Millay 213 Comments
6620 Portrait By a Neighbor
6617 Wild Swans Comments and analysis of Wild Swans by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6607 Indifference Comments and analysis of Indifference by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6328 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 25 Comments
6293 The Death Of Autumn
6275 Intention To Escape From Him
6246 Epitaph
6171 When The Year Grows Old
6077 Grown Up
6025 The Snow Storm
6001 Eel-Grass Comments and analysis of Eel-Grass by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
5995 To the Not Impossible Him Comments and analysis of To the Not Impossible Him by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
5988 The Little Ghost Comments and analysis of The Little Ghost by Edna St. Vincent Millay 206 Comments
5987 Thursday Comments and analysis of Thursday by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
5963 The True Encounter Comments and analysis of The True Encounter by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5948 Sonnets 07: When I Too Long Have Looked Upon Your Face
5832 Love, Though for This
5812 Interim Comments and analysis of Interim by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
5756 Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5720 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
5677 Weeds Comments and analysis of Weeds by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5546 Sonnets 06: No Rose That In A Garden Ever Grew
5455 The Unexplorer
5383 Make Bright The Arrows Comments and analysis of Make Bright The Arrows by Edna St. Vincent Millay 51 Comments
5381 Not Even My Pride Shall Suffer Much
5380 Souvenir Comments and analysis of Souvenir by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
5360 The Curse
5338 Inland
5295 Kin To Sorrow
5263 Menses Comments and analysis of Menses by Edna St. Vincent Millay 8 Comments
5212 Passer Mortuus Est
5110 Ebb
5052 To A Poet That Died Young
4959 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
4946 Sonnets 09: Let You Not Say Of Me When I Am Old
4945 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
4934 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4869 Daphne
4868 MacDougal Street Comments and analysis of MacDougal Street by Edna St. Vincent Millay 26 Comments
4815 Think Not, Not For A Moment Let Your Mind
4804 Rosemary Comments and analysis of Rosemary by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
4790 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 32 Comments
4763 To Those Without Pity
4759 To Kathleen
4566 Blight
4538 The Little Hill
4478 Scrub Comments and analysis of Scrub by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
4460 Doubt No More That Oberon Comments and analysis of Doubt No More That Oberon by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4447 Sonnets 12: Cherish You Then The Hope I Shall Forget
4417 If Still Your Orchards Bear
4412 Sonnets 01: We Talk Of Taxes, And I Call You Friend
4375 Mist In The Valley Comments and analysis of Mist In The Valley by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
4322 The Blue-Flag In The Bog Comments and analysis of The Blue-Flag In The Bog by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4287 Sonnets 05: Once More Into My Arid Days Like Dew
4251 The Wood Road Comments and analysis of The Wood Road by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4247 The Betrothal
4230 Memorial To D.C.
4172 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 218 Comments
4129 The Merry Maid
4127 Invocation To The Muses
4096 The Return From Town Comments and analysis of The Return From Town by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4083 The Shroud Comments and analysis of The Shroud by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
3980 The Prisoner
3924 The Poet And His Book Comments and analysis of The Poet And His Book by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
3919 She is Overheard Singing Comments and analysis of She is Overheard Singing by Edna St. Vincent Millay 14 Comments
3858 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 3 Comments
3808 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 14 Comments
3801 The Penitent Comments and analysis of The Penitent by Edna St. Vincent Millay 11 Comments
3756 My Most Distinguished Guest And Learned Friend
3719 Three Songs Of Shattering
3714 Sonnet 04: Not In This Chamber Only At My Birth
3658 Lines Written In Recapitulation Comments and analysis of Lines Written In Recapitulation by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
3634 Daphne
3594 To S. M. Comments and analysis of To S. M. by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
3436 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
3413 The Penitent
3391 Sonnets 11: As To Some Lovely Temple, Tenantless
3282 The Singing-Woman from the Wood's Edge
3257 Pastoral
3204 Tavern
3158 The Fledgling
3091 The Unexplorer
2889 Lament Comments and analysis of Lament by Edna St. Vincent Millay 290 Comments
2837 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
2340 Well, I Have Lost You Comments and analysis of Well, I Have Lost You by Edna St. Vincent Millay 297 Comments
1922 Modern Declaration Comments and analysis of Modern Declaration by Edna St. Vincent Millay 63 Comments
1915 Recuerdo Comments and analysis of Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay 516 Comments
1668 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 299 Comments
1456 Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry Comments and analysis of Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
1331 Dirge Without Music Comments and analysis of Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay 37 Comments
1012 Apostrophe To Man Comments and analysis of Apostrophe To Man by Edna St. Vincent Millay 12 Comments
1005 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 228 Comments
948 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 54 Comments
837 Mariposa Comments and analysis of Mariposa by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
745 The Plaid Dress Comments and analysis of The Plaid Dress by Edna St. Vincent Millay 64 Comments
680 Song Of A Second April Comments and analysis of Song Of A Second April by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
673 Dirge
647 Sonnet 03: Mindful Of You The Sodden Earth In Spring
627 Low-Tide
603 Wraith Comments and analysis of Wraith by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
573 Conscientious Objector Comments and analysis of Conscientious Objector by Edna St. Vincent Millay 262 Comments
557 Oh, Think Not I Am Faithful
514 I Know The Face Of Falsehood And Her Tongue
504 Portrait By A Neighbour
494 The Bean-Stalk
474 Travel Comments and analysis of Travel by Edna St. Vincent Millay 277 Comments
459 To The Not Impossible Him
319 Departure Comments and analysis of Departure by Edna St. Vincent Millay 448 Comments
300 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
171 Underground System
159 Love Is Not All Comments and analysis of Love Is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay 74 Comments
126 An Ancient Gesture Comments and analysis of An Ancient Gesture by Edna St. Vincent Millay 772 Comments
106 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
82 And do you think that love itself Comments and analysis of And do you think that love itself by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
76 The Spring And The Fall Comments and analysis of The Spring And The Fall by Edna St. Vincent Millay 223 Comments
73 The Concert
65 Grown Up Comments and analysis of Grown Up by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
30 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
21 Two Sonnets In Memory
13 Chorus Comments and analysis of Chorus by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
2 The Suicide Comments and analysis of The Suicide by Edna St. Vincent Millay 61 Comments


Books by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Millay Info


Information
Copyright © 2000-2015 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links