Selected Poems (Perennial Classics)

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9780060931681: Selected Poems (Perennial Classics)

A magnificent anthology of the finest works of Edna St. Vincent Millay, perhaps the premier American lyricist of the twentieth century.

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About the Author:

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in 1892 in Rockland, Maine, the eldest of three daughters, and was encouraged by her mother to develop her talents for music and poetry. Her long poem "Renascence" won critical attention in an anthology contest in 1912 and secured for her a patron who enabled her to go to Vassar College.

After graduating in 1917 she lived in Greenwich Village in New York for a few years, acting, writing satirical pieces for journals (usually under a pseudonym), and continuing to work at her poetry. She traveled in Europe throughout 1921-22 as a "foreign correspondent" for Vanity Fair. Her collection A Few Figs from Thistles (1920) gained her a reputation for hedonistic wit and cynicism, but her other collections (including the earlier Renascence and Other Poems [1917]) are without exception more seriously passionate or reflective.

In 1923 she married Eugene Boissevain and -- after further travel -- embarked on a series of reading tours which helped to consolidate her nationwide renown. From 1925 onwards she lived at Steepletop, a farmstead in Austerlitz, New York, where her husband protected her from all responsibilities except her creative work. Often involved in feminist or political causes (including the Sacco-Vanzetti case of 1927), she turned to writing anti-fascist propaganda poetry in 1940 and further damaged a reputation already in decline. In her last years of her life she became more withdrawn and isolated, and her health, which had never been robust, became increasingly poor.

She died in 1950.

Review:

"One of the only poets writing in English in our time who have attained anything like the stature of great literary figures."-- Edmund Wilson"I know that Millay is a good poet because there are so many of her lines in my memory. She belonged to a generation which thought of poetry as song; when that notion revives, as it will, the great appeal of her work will be felt again."-- Richard Wilbur"She wrote some of the best sonnets of the century."-- Richard Eberhart"There are some who delight and inform. It's so much better, you see, for me, when a writer like Edna St. Vincent Millay speaks so deeply about her concern for herself, and does not offer us any altruisms. Then when I look through her eyes at how she sees a black or an Asian my heart is lightened."-- Maya Angelou

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