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September 20th, 2014 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 278,943 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
37164 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
37079 Well, I Have Lost You Comments and analysis of Well, I Have Lost You by Edna St. Vincent Millay 275 Comments
24758 Conscientious Objector Comments and analysis of Conscientious Objector by Edna St. Vincent Millay 251 Comments
23783 The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver Comments and analysis of The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay 275 Comments
18546 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
16700 Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree Comments and analysis of Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
15486 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
14684 Spring Comments and analysis of Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay 214 Comments
14673 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
14138 Renascence Comments and analysis of Renascence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 26 Comments
14066 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 36 Comments
13305 I Shall Forget You Presently Comments and analysis of I Shall Forget You Presently by Edna St. Vincent Millay 462 Comments
12992 A Visit To The Asylum Comments and analysis of A Visit To The Asylum by Edna St. Vincent Millay 78 Comments
12843 Prayer To Persephone Comments and analysis of Prayer To Persephone by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
12595 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig  by Edna St. Vincent Millay 89 Comments
12385 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
12136 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
11775 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
11391 Departure Comments and analysis of Departure by Edna St. Vincent Millay 431 Comments
11355 Afternoon On A Hill Comments and analysis of Afternoon On A Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay 277 Comments
10818 Being Young And Green Comments and analysis of Being Young And Green by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
10631 God's World Comments and analysis of God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay 236 Comments
10370 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
9929 City Trees
9910 Justice Denied In Massachusetts Comments and analysis of Justice Denied In Massachusetts by Edna St. Vincent Millay 213 Comments
9863 Elegy Before Death Comments and analysis of Elegy Before Death by Edna St. Vincent Millay 27 Comments
9516 Journey Comments and analysis of Journey by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
9437 The Leaf And The Tree
9420 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
9213 Ashes Of Life Comments and analysis of Ashes Of Life by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
9165 Elegy Comments and analysis of Elegy by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
9060 The Suicide Comments and analysis of The Suicide by Edna St. Vincent Millay 55 Comments
9001 Autumn Daybreak
8790 The Dream Comments and analysis of The Dream by Edna St. Vincent Millay 251 Comments
8659 Feast Comments and analysis of Feast by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
8564 Sorrow Comments and analysis of Sorrow by Edna St. Vincent Millay 56 Comments
8328 Alms Comments and analysis of Alms by Edna St. Vincent Millay 8 Comments
8092 Sonnet 06: Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Sonnet 06: Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 216 Comments
8015 Sonnet (Women Have Loved Before As I Love Now)
7908 Ode To Silence Comments and analysis of Ode To Silence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
7880 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
7564 Night Is My Sister, And How Deep In Love
7484 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
7368 The Concert
7348 Burial
7338 Chorus Comments and analysis of Chorus by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
7274 The Fawn Comments and analysis of The Fawn by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
7245 Witch-Wife Comments and analysis of Witch-Wife by Edna St. Vincent Millay 72 Comments
7138 The Goose-Girl Comments and analysis of The Goose-Girl by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
7059 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
6943 Assault Comments and analysis of Assault by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
6501 Exiled Comments and analysis of Exiled by Edna St. Vincent Millay 207 Comments
6333 Wild Swans Comments and analysis of Wild Swans by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6238 Indifference
6202 Portrait By a Neighbor
6065 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
6052 Intention To Escape From Him
6003 Epitaph
5987 The Death Of Autumn
5833 Grown Up
5731 The Snow Storm
5722 Sonnets 07: When I Too Long Have Looked Upon Your Face
5721 Thursday Comments and analysis of Thursday by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
5696 The True Encounter Comments and analysis of The True Encounter by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5692 To the Not Impossible Him Comments and analysis of To the Not Impossible Him by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
5630 The Little Ghost Comments and analysis of The Little Ghost by Edna St. Vincent Millay 203 Comments
5626 Eel-Grass Comments and analysis of Eel-Grass by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
5576 Love, Though for This
5536 Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5518 Interim Comments and analysis of Interim by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
5508 Sonnets 10: Oh, My Beloved, Have You Thought Of This
5354 Weeds Comments and analysis of Weeds by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5346 When The Year Grows Old
5283 Sonnets 06: No Rose That In A Garden Ever Grew
5238 The Unexplorer
5152 Not Even My Pride Shall Suffer Much
5137 The Curse
5061 Souvenir Comments and analysis of Souvenir by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
5020 Inland
5004 Menses Comments and analysis of Menses by Edna St. Vincent Millay 7 Comments
4993 Kin To Sorrow
4936 Ebb
4867 Make Bright The Arrows Comments and analysis of Make Bright The Arrows by Edna St. Vincent Millay 44 Comments
4860 Passer Mortuus Est
4816 To A Poet That Died Young
4725 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
4706 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4704 Sonnets 09: Let You Not Say Of Me When I Am Old
4671 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
4617 Daphne
4604 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
4604 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 31 Comments
4550 MacDougal Street Comments and analysis of MacDougal Street by Edna St. Vincent Millay 25 Comments
4540 Think Not, Not For A Moment Let Your Mind
4530 Rosemary Comments and analysis of Rosemary by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4492 To Those Without Pity
4489 To Kathleen
4370 Blight
4322 The Little Hill
4261 Sonnets 12: Cherish You Then The Hope I Shall Forget
4245 Doubt No More That Oberon Comments and analysis of Doubt No More That Oberon by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4179 Sonnets 01: We Talk Of Taxes, And I Call You Friend
4178 Scrub Comments and analysis of Scrub by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4130 If Still Your Orchards Bear
4103 Mist In The Valley Comments and analysis of Mist In The Valley by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
4020 Sonnets 05: Once More Into My Arid Days Like Dew
4011 The Betrothal
4009 The Blue-Flag In The Bog Comments and analysis of The Blue-Flag In The Bog by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
3976 The Wood Road Comments and analysis of The Wood Road by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
3963 Memorial To D.C.
3947 Invocation To The Muses
3923 The Merry Maid
3906 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
3824 The Shroud Comments and analysis of The Shroud by Edna St. Vincent Millay 25 Comments
3797 The Return From Town Comments and analysis of The Return From Town by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
3774 The Prisoner
3677 She is Overheard Singing Comments and analysis of She is Overheard Singing by Edna St. Vincent Millay 13 Comments
3658 The Poet And His Book Comments and analysis of The Poet And His Book by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
3546 My Most Distinguished Guest And Learned Friend
3520 Three Songs Of Shattering
3509 Sonnet 04: Not In This Chamber Only At My Birth
3431 The Penitent Comments and analysis of The Penitent by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
3381 Daphne
3360 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
3336 To S. M. Comments and analysis of To S. M. by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
3322 Lines Written In Recapitulation Comments and analysis of Lines Written In Recapitulation by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
3275 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
3247 The Penitent
3161 Sonnets 11: As To Some Lovely Temple, Tenantless
3097 The Singing-Woman from the Wood's Edge
3036 Tavern
2976 Pastoral
2952 The Fledgling
2817 The Unexplorer
2802 Underground System
2642 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 12 Comments
2640 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
1708 Lament Comments and analysis of Lament by Edna St. Vincent Millay 280 Comments
1279 The Spring And The Fall Comments and analysis of The Spring And The Fall by Edna St. Vincent Millay 219 Comments
1152 Love Is Not All Comments and analysis of Love Is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay 72 Comments
1032 Recuerdo Comments and analysis of Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay 501 Comments
946 Modern Declaration Comments and analysis of Modern Declaration by Edna St. Vincent Millay 58 Comments
888 Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry Comments and analysis of Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
849 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
834 An Ancient Gesture Comments and analysis of An Ancient Gesture by Edna St. Vincent Millay 757 Comments
694 Dirge Without Music Comments and analysis of Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
564 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
550 Apostrophe To Man Comments and analysis of Apostrophe To Man by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
528 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
459 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
444 Grown Up Comments and analysis of Grown Up by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
444 Mariposa Comments and analysis of Mariposa by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
437 Two Sonnets In Memory
398 The Plaid Dress Comments and analysis of The Plaid Dress by Edna St. Vincent Millay 62 Comments
377 Song Of A Second April Comments and analysis of Song Of A Second April by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
352 Wraith Comments and analysis of Wraith by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
344 Sonnet 03: Mindful Of You The Sodden Earth In Spring
337 Low-Tide
331 Dirge
330 Travel Comments and analysis of Travel by Edna St. Vincent Millay 269 Comments
320 Oh, Think Not I Am Faithful
294 Portrait By A Neighbour
273 I Know The Face Of Falsehood And Her Tongue
257 The Bean-Stalk
249 To The Not Impossible Him


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