Day 573: The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Cover for The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent MillayPoetry is not really my expertise, so I feel awkward trying to write this. Of course, I came to this book familiar with a few of Millay’s most well-known poems, particularly “First Fig.” The poem that made Millay’s reputation was “Renascence,” about a person who is buried in the earth alive and springs back out.

I think this is an interesting book for someone not familiar with Millay. It contains most of her best-known poems from several different collections.

Although Millay was known as a master writer of sonnets and this book contains many sonnets, I think I prefer some of her less formal, cheekier poems, for example, “Thursday.” I also liked the poems that reflect her familiarity with old Celtic and British folk ballads—whose rhythms sound like someone singing a ghostly Border ballad.

After reading in Milford’s biography about Millay’s wonderful voice, I looked for a recording on YouTube. I was delighted to find an atmospheric performance of “The Ballad of the Harpweaver,” recorded for radio.

You might be interested in reading my review of the biography of her life.

4 thoughts on “Day 573: The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay

  1. Cedar Station August 29, 2014 / 1:14 pm

    I had a similar experience with her poems — I preferred the ones that were more tongue-in-cheek. I’ve had her biography on my list for a while, too, as well as her book of letters. She was definitely a talented writer!

    • whatmeread August 29, 2014 / 1:52 pm

      I think the biography that I read was really interesting.

  2. Carolyn O September 2, 2014 / 4:07 pm

    Oh, Edna. I love her. I love the way she writes so openly about sex (even casual sex), whether she’s funny or mournful. I’m glad you read this book!

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