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August 23rd, 2017 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 326,437 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
39595 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
20902 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
17182 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
16643 Spring Comments and analysis of Spring by Edna St. Vincent Millay 222 Comments
15732 I Shall Forget You Presently Comments and analysis of I Shall Forget You Presently by Edna St. Vincent Millay 473 Comments
15538 Renascence Comments and analysis of Renascence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 59 Comments
15459 Prayer To Persephone Comments and analysis of Prayer To Persephone by Edna St. Vincent Millay 30 Comments
13907 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
13711 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
12506 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
12198 Being Young And Green Comments and analysis of Being Young And Green by Edna St. Vincent Millay 18 Comments
11773 God's World Comments and analysis of God's World by Edna St. Vincent Millay 242 Comments
11729 Justice Denied In Massachusetts Comments and analysis of Justice Denied In Massachusetts by Edna St. Vincent Millay 235 Comments
11517 City Trees
11096 Journey Comments and analysis of Journey by Edna St. Vincent Millay 20 Comments
10698 Elegy Comments and analysis of Elegy by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
10456 Ashes Of Life Comments and analysis of Ashes Of Life by Edna St. Vincent Millay 38 Comments
10442 Autumn Daybreak
10335 Feast Comments and analysis of Feast by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
10249 The Leaf And The Tree
9716 Alms Comments and analysis of Alms by Edna St. Vincent Millay 13 Comments
9196 Sonnet 06: Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Sonnet 06: Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 233 Comments
9102 Sonnet (Women Have Loved Before As I Love Now)
9036 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
8991 Ode To Silence Comments and analysis of Ode To Silence by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
8787 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
8646 Witch-Wife Comments and analysis of Witch-Wife by Edna St. Vincent Millay 86 Comments
8610 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 8 Comments
8311 Burial
8290 The Goose-Girl Comments and analysis of The Goose-Girl by Edna St. Vincent Millay 6 Comments
8218 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 44 Comments
7501 Portrait By a Neighbor
7216 Wild Swans Comments and analysis of Wild Swans by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6986 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
6971 Rosemary Comments and analysis of Rosemary by Edna St. Vincent Millay 12 Comments
6938 Interim Comments and analysis of Interim by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
6933 To the Not Impossible Him Comments and analysis of To the Not Impossible Him by Edna St. Vincent Millay 11 Comments
6882 When The Year Grows Old
6872 Epitaph
6844 Eel-Grass Comments and analysis of Eel-Grass by Edna St. Vincent Millay 8 Comments
6766 The Death Of Autumn
6750 The Snow Storm
6608 Grown Up
6580 Make Bright The Arrows Comments and analysis of Make Bright The Arrows by Edna St. Vincent Millay 56 Comments
6509 Thursday Comments and analysis of Thursday by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
6495 The True Encounter Comments and analysis of The True Encounter by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6354 Sonnets 07: When I Too Long Have Looked Upon Your Face
6350 Weeds Comments and analysis of Weeds by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
6264 Bluebeard Comments and analysis of Bluebeard by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
6189 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
6143 MacDougal Street Comments and analysis of MacDougal Street by Edna St. Vincent Millay 33 Comments
6098 Sonnets 06: No Rose That In A Garden Ever Grew
6089 Souvenir Comments and analysis of Souvenir by Edna St. Vincent Millay 3 Comments
5974 Kin To Sorrow
5964 Inland
5941 Not Even My Pride Shall Suffer Much
5887 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
5871 Menses Comments and analysis of Menses by Edna St. Vincent Millay 11 Comments
5842 The Curse
5617 To A Poet That Died Young
5610 Ebb
5490 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
5474 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 5 Comments
5443 Midnight Oil Comments and analysis of Midnight Oil by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5389 Daphne
5368 Sonnets 09: Let You Not Say Of Me When I Am Old
5361 Think Not, Not For A Moment Let Your Mind
5278 Blight
5272 To Those Without Pity
5210 Scrub Comments and analysis of Scrub by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
5099 Doubt No More That Oberon Comments and analysis of Doubt No More That Oberon by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
5045 The Wood Road Comments and analysis of The Wood Road by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4939 The Blue-Flag In The Bog Comments and analysis of The Blue-Flag In The Bog by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
4895 Mist In The Valley Comments and analysis of Mist In The Valley by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
4867 Sonnets 12: Cherish You Then The Hope I Shall Forget
4860 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
4771 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
4754 The Merry Maid
4751 Memorial To D.C.
4725 The Betrothal
4702 The Shroud Comments and analysis of The Shroud by Edna St. Vincent Millay 29 Comments
4653 The Penitent Comments and analysis of The Penitent by Edna St. Vincent Millay 26 Comments
4607 Invocation To The Muses
4584 The Return From Town Comments and analysis of The Return From Town by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4572 She is Overheard Singing Comments and analysis of She is Overheard Singing by Edna St. Vincent Millay 20 Comments
4552 The Prisoner
4549 Tavern
4451 The Poet And His Book Comments and analysis of The Poet And His Book by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
4389 Lament Comments and analysis of Lament by Edna St. Vincent Millay 305 Comments
4234 Daphne
4232 Sonnet 04: Not In This Chamber Only At My Birth
4203 My Most Distinguished Guest And Learned Friend
4162 Three Songs Of Shattering
4061 Modern Declaration Comments and analysis of Modern Declaration by Edna St. Vincent Millay 74 Comments
4049 To S. M. Comments and analysis of To S. M. by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
3914 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
3906 The Penitent
3896 Sonnets 11: As To Some Lovely Temple, Tenantless
3767 The Singing-Woman from the Wood's Edge
3733 Pastoral
3696 The Fledgling
3634 The Unexplorer
3495 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
3282 Recuerdo Comments and analysis of Recuerdo by Edna St. Vincent Millay 528 Comments
3273 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
2771 Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry Comments and analysis of Oh, Oh, You Will Be Sorry by Edna St. Vincent Millay 19 Comments
2387 Dirge Without Music Comments and analysis of Dirge Without Music by Edna St. Vincent Millay 48 Comments
2092 Love Is Not All Comments and analysis of Love Is Not All by Edna St. Vincent Millay 84 Comments
1924 Apostrophe To Man Comments and analysis of Apostrophe To Man by Edna St. Vincent Millay 19 Comments
1860 Travel Comments and analysis of Travel by Edna St. Vincent Millay 290 Comments
1745 The Plaid Dress Comments and analysis of The Plaid Dress by Edna St. Vincent Millay 71 Comments
1393 Underground System
1376 Departure Comments and analysis of Departure by Edna St. Vincent Millay 461 Comments
1375 Song Of A Second April Comments and analysis of Song Of A Second April by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
1329 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
1282 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
1273 Dirge
1273 Low-Tide
1245 Oh, Think Not I Am Faithful
1106 Wraith Comments and analysis of Wraith by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
1084 Exiled Comments and analysis of Exiled by Edna St. Vincent Millay 220 Comments
1042 Portrait By A Neighbour
974 The Bean-Stalk
952 The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver Comments and analysis of The Ballad Of The Harp-Weaver by Edna St. Vincent Millay 285 Comments
924 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
888 To The Not Impossible Him
807 An Ancient Gesture Comments and analysis of An Ancient Gesture by Edna St. Vincent Millay 799 Comments
782 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
742 The Suicide Comments and analysis of The Suicide by Edna St. Vincent Millay 75 Comments
731 Grown Up Comments and analysis of Grown Up by Edna St. Vincent Millay 14 Comments
713 The Little Ghost Comments and analysis of The Little Ghost by Edna St. Vincent Millay 221 Comments
691 Two Sonnets In Memory
690 The Concert
610 The Fawn Comments and analysis of The Fawn by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
585 Chorus Comments and analysis of Chorus by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
568 Passer Mortuus Est
505 I Know The Face Of Falsehood And Her Tongue
468 Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree Comments and analysis of Sonnets From An Ungrafted Tree by Edna St. Vincent Millay 17 Comments
400 The Unexplorer
353 Elegy Before Death Comments and analysis of Elegy Before Death by Edna St. Vincent Millay 47 Comments
335 Sonnets 05: Once More Into My Arid Days Like Dew
261 Afternoon On A Hill Comments and analysis of Afternoon On A Hill by Edna St. Vincent Millay 301 Comments
206 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 13 Comments
189 Love, Though for This
167 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
159 Indifference Comments and analysis of Indifference by Edna St. Vincent Millay 4 Comments
156 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 240 Comments
147 Lines Written In Recapitulation Comments and analysis of Lines Written In Recapitulation by Edna St. Vincent Millay 1 Comment
146 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
146 Second Fig Comments and analysis of Second Fig  by Edna St. Vincent Millay 108 Comments
143 If Still Your Orchards Bear
138 Sorrow Comments and analysis of Sorrow by Edna St. Vincent Millay 79 Comments
123 Intention To Escape From Him
123 The Philosopher Comments and analysis of The Philosopher by Edna St. Vincent Millay 34 Comments
114 Sonnets 01: We Talk Of Taxes, And I Call You Friend
107 Assault Comments and analysis of Assault by Edna St. Vincent Millay 14 Comments
98 A Visit To The Asylum Comments and analysis of A Visit To The Asylum by Edna St. Vincent Millay 104 Comments
97 The Little Hill
51 Mariposa Comments and analysis of Mariposa by Edna St. Vincent Millay 2 Comments
42 To Kathleen
34 First Fig Comments and analysis of First Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay 54 Comments
9 The Spring And The Fall Comments and analysis of The Spring And The Fall by Edna St. Vincent Millay 223 Comments
5 Well, I Have Lost You Comments and analysis of Well, I Have Lost You by Edna St. Vincent Millay 308 Comments
3 The Dream Comments and analysis of The Dream by Edna St. Vincent Millay 265 Comments
2 Conscientious Objector Comments and analysis of Conscientious Objector by Edna St. Vincent Millay 272 Comments


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