An Anthology of Women Poets that includes: Gertrude Stein, Edna St. Vincent Millay, H.D., Louise Bogen, and Muriel Rukeyser.
Each audio production is accompanied by a book containing the text of the poems and a commentary by J.D. McClatchy.
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) After attending Radcliffe College, Gertrude Stein lived abroad, mostly in Paris, for the rest of her life. Her home became a cultural salon for writers and artists. Even among Cubist painters who were her friends, her work stands out for its boldness and invention. She turned English on its head with results both witty and enigmatic. In addition to her poetry she wrote novels, memoirs, history, and libretti.
Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was born in Rockland, Maine to her self-sufficient single mother and three sisters. At her mother’s urging, she entered her poem “Renascence” into a contest: she won fourth place bringing her immediate acclaim and scholarship to Vassar.
While there she continued to write poetry and became involved in the theater. In 1917, Millay published her first book, Renascence and Other Poems. At the request of Vassar’s drama department, she wrote her first verse play, The Lamp and the Bell in 1921.
Millay moved to New York’s Greenwich Village, where she led a notoriously bohemian life. In 1920 she published A Few Figs from Thistles, a volume of poetry which drew much attention for its controversial descriptions of female sexuality and feminism. Her fourth volume of poetry The Harp Weaver (1921) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
Millay married Eugen Boissevain in 1923. Their marriage ended in 1949 with Boissevain’s death. Edna St. Vincent Millay died in 1950 of heart failure.
H.D. (1886-1961) was born Hilda Doolittle in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She attended Bryn Mawr as a classmate of Marianne Moore, and later the University of Pennsylvania where she befriended Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams. In 1911, she traveled to Europe intending only to stay for a summer, but remained abroad for the rest of her life. Through Pound, she grew interested in and quickly became the leader of the Imagist movement. Some of her earliest poems gained recognition when they were published by Harriet Monroe in Poetry.
Her work is characterized by the intense strength and intensity of her images, economy of language, and use of classical mythology. Her poems did not receive widespread recognition due in part to the limits of being associated with the Imagist movement, as well as her feminist principles, which were not readily acceptable at the time. She died in 1961.