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March 23rd, 2017 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 323,712 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
39055 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 557 Comments
20665 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
17005 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
16540 Spring Comments and analysis of Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay 222 Comments
16219 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
15507 I Shall Forget You Presently Comments and analysis of I Shall Forget You Presently by Edna St. Vincent Millay 473 Comments
15428 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 53 Comments
15371 Renascence Comments and analysis of Renascence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 57 Comments
15147 Prayer To Persephone Comments and analysis of Prayer To Persephone by Edna St. Vincent Millay 30 Comments
14855 A Visit To The Asylum Comments and analysis of A Visit To The Asylum by Edna St. Vincent Millay 104 Comments
14012 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig  by Edna St. Vincent Millay 107 Comments
13779 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
13392 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 22 Comments
12232 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 68 Comments
11957 Being Young And Green Comments and analysis of Being Young And Green by Edna St. Vincent Millay 18 Comments
11658 God's World Comments and analysis of God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay 242 Comments
11543 Justice Denied In Massachusetts Comments and analysis of Justice Denied In Massachusetts by Edna St. Vincent Millay 235 Comments
11370 Elegy Before Death Comments and analysis of Elegy Before Death by Edna St. Vincent Millay 46 Comments
11252 City Trees
10821 Journey Comments and analysis of Journey by Edna St. Vincent Millay 18 Comments
10521 Elegy Comments and analysis of Elegy by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
10295 Ashes Of Life Comments and analysis of Ashes Of Life by Edna St. Vincent Millay 34 Comments
10215 Autumn Daybreak
10160 The Leaf And The Tree
10147 Feast Comments and analysis of Feast by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
9888 The Dream Comments and analysis of The Dream by Edna St. Vincent Millay 264 Comments
9388 Alms Comments and analysis of Alms by Edna St. Vincent Millay 12 Comments
9003 Sonnet 06: Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Sonnet 06: Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 233 Comments
8996 Sonnet (Women Have Loved Before As I Love Now)
8878 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
8862 Ode To Silence Comments and analysis of Ode To Silence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
8637 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
8511 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 2 Comments
8329 Witch-Wife Comments and analysis of Witch-Wife by Edna St. Vincent Millay 85 Comments
8166 Burial
8154 The Goose-Girl Comments and analysis of The Goose-Girl by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
8067 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 37 Comments
7716 Assault Comments and analysis of Assault by Edna St. Vincent Millay 14 Comments
7322 Portrait By a Neighbor
7026 Wild Swans Comments and analysis of Wild Swans by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6896 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
6839 Interim Comments and analysis of Interim by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
6838 Rosemary Comments and analysis of Rosemary by Edna St. Vincent Millay 12 Comments
6769 When The Year Grows Old
6736 To the Not Impossible Him Comments and analysis of To the Not Impossible Him by Edna St. Vincent Millay 11 Comments
6703 Epitaph
6679 The Death Of Autumn
6659 Eel-Grass Comments and analysis of Eel-Grass by Edna St. Vincent Millay 8 Comments
6627 The Snow Storm
6435 Grown Up
6407 Thursday Comments and analysis of Thursday by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
6403 The True Encounter Comments and analysis of The True Encounter by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6333 Make Bright The Arrows Comments and analysis of Make Bright The Arrows by Edna St. Vincent Millay 55 Comments
6315 Love, Though for This
6260 Sonnets 07: When I Too Long Have Looked Upon Your Face
6203 Weeds Comments and analysis of Weeds by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
6159 Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6098 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
5997 Sonnets 06: No Rose That In A Garden Ever Grew
5981 Souvenir Comments and analysis of Souvenir by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
5857 Inland
5839 MacDougal Street Comments and analysis of MacDougal Street by Edna St. Vincent Millay 32 Comments
5836 Kin To Sorrow
5825 Not Even My Pride Shall Suffer Much
5755 The Curse
5746 Menses Comments and analysis of Menses by Edna St. Vincent Millay 11 Comments
5573 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
5529 To A Poet That Died Young
5517 Ebb
5371 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
5357 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
5351 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5288 Daphne
5285 Sonnets 09: Let You Not Say Of Me When I Am Old
5274 Think Not, Not For A Moment Let Your Mind
5214 To Kathleen
5167 To Those Without Pity
5107 Scrub Comments and analysis of Scrub by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
5104 Blight
4953 Doubt No More That Oberon Comments and analysis of Doubt No More That Oberon by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4886 The Little Hill
4842 The Blue-Flag In The Bog Comments and analysis of The Blue-Flag In The Bog by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4837 The Wood Road Comments and analysis of The Wood Road by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4793 Mist In The Valley Comments and analysis of Mist In The Valley by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
4788 Sonnets 12: Cherish You Then The Hope I Shall Forget
4688 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 227 Comments
4641 Memorial To D.C.
4634 The Betrothal
4630 The Merry Maid
4603 The Shroud Comments and analysis of The Shroud by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
4589 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 10 Comments
4515 The Penitent Comments and analysis of The Penitent by Edna St. Vincent Millay 18 Comments
4494 Invocation To The Muses
4490 The Return From Town Comments and analysis of The Return From Town by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4476 She is Overheard Singing Comments and analysis of She is Overheard Singing by Edna St. Vincent Millay 19 Comments
4459 The Prisoner
4435 Tavern
4367 The Poet And His Book Comments and analysis of The Poet And His Book by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4140 Lament Comments and analysis of Lament by Edna St. Vincent Millay 304 Comments
4127 Sonnet 04: Not In This Chamber Only At My Birth
4116 My Most Distinguished Guest And Learned Friend
4113 Daphne
4063 Three Songs Of Shattering
4039 Well, I Have Lost You Comments and analysis of Well, I Have Lost You by Edna St. Vincent Millay 307 Comments
3959 To S. M. Comments and analysis of To S. M. by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
3835 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
3818 Sonnets 11: As To Some Lovely Temple, Tenantless
3800 The Penitent
3657 Modern Declaration Comments and analysis of Modern Declaration by Edna St. Vincent Millay 73 Comments
3624 Pastoral
3611 The Singing-Woman from the Wood's Edge
3577 The Fledgling
3542 The Unexplorer
3261 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 326 Comments
3195 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
3060 Recuerdo Comments and analysis of Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay 527 Comments
2516 Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry Comments and analysis of Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry by Edna St. Vincent Millay 19 Comments
2177 Dirge Without Music Comments and analysis of Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay 46 Comments
1817 Love Is Not All Comments and analysis of Love Is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay 84 Comments
1754 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 56 Comments
1744 Apostrophe To Man Comments and analysis of Apostrophe To Man by Edna St. Vincent Millay 19 Comments
1720 Travel Comments and analysis of Travel by Edna St. Vincent Millay 289 Comments
1637 The Spring And The Fall Comments and analysis of The Spring And The Fall by Edna St. Vincent Millay 223 Comments
1562 The Plaid Dress Comments and analysis of The Plaid Dress by Edna St. Vincent Millay 70 Comments
1497 Mariposa Comments and analysis of Mariposa by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
1322 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 12 Comments
1283 Underground System
1203 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
1190 Song Of A Second April Comments and analysis of Song Of A Second April by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
1169 Dirge
1150 Low-Tide
1142 Departure Comments and analysis of Departure by Edna St. Vincent Millay 460 Comments
1080 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
1001 Oh, Think Not I Am Faithful
987 Wraith Comments and analysis of Wraith by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
938 Portrait By A Neighbour
882 The Bean-Stalk
865 Exiled Comments and analysis of Exiled by Edna St. Vincent Millay 219 Comments
807 To The Not Impossible Him
760 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
622 The Suicide Comments and analysis of The Suicide by Edna St. Vincent Millay 74 Comments
618 Grown Up Comments and analysis of Grown Up by Edna St. Vincent Millay 14 Comments
611 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
602 Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree Comments and analysis of Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree by Edna St. Vincent Millay 16 Comments
574 The Concert
548 Two Sonnets In Memory
544 The Little Ghost Comments and analysis of The Little Ghost by Edna St. Vincent Millay 221 Comments
511 Conscientious Objector Comments and analysis of Conscientious Objector by Edna St. Vincent Millay 271 Comments
448 The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver Comments and analysis of The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay 285 Comments
431 The Fawn Comments and analysis of The Fawn by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
406 An Ancient Gesture Comments and analysis of An Ancient Gesture by Edna St. Vincent Millay 797 Comments
392 Passer Mortuus Est
376 I Know The Face Of Falsehood And Her Tongue
361 Chorus Comments and analysis of Chorus by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
301 The Unexplorer
216 Sonnets 05: Once More Into My Arid Days Like Dew
87 Afternoon On A Hill Comments and analysis of Afternoon On A Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay 301 Comments
64 Lines Written In Recapitulation Comments and analysis of Lines Written In Recapitulation by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
24 Sonnets 01: We Talk Of Taxes, And I Call You Friend
21 Sorrow Comments and analysis of Sorrow by Edna St. Vincent Millay 79 Comments
18 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 33 Comments
9 If Still Your Orchards Bear
6 Indifference Comments and analysis of Indifference by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
4 Intention To Escape From Him
4 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 238 Comments


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