Happy Birthday Edna St. Vincent Millay

Happy Birthday, Edna

“I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Today, in 1892, Edna St. Vincent Millay rushed into this world.  Born in Rockland, Maine, her parents were Cora Lounella, a nurse, and Henry Tollman Millay, a school teacher.  She had two sisters, Norma and Kathleen.  Her mother divorced her father in 1904 for financial irresponsibility although they had been separated for several years.  Cora and her daughters moved from town to town, living in gentile poverty.   Everywhere they went, they carried with them a trunk full of classic literature including Shakespeare and Milton.

God’s World

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!

Thy winds, thy wide grey skies!

Thy mists, that roll and rise!

Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag

And all but cry with colour!   That gaunt crag

To crush!   To lift the lean of that black bluff!

World, World, I cannot get thee close enough!

****

Long have I known a glory in it all,

But never knew I this;

Here such a passion is

As stretcheth me apart,—Lord, I do fear

Thou’st made the world too beautiful this year;

My soul is all but out of me,—let fall

No burning leaf; prithee, let no bird call.

20 Replies to “Happy Birthday Edna St. Vincent Millay”

  1. I know this outstanding lady by name only. I think it would be good to read and get to know her better. Thanks for the good introduction.

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  2. what an remarkable poet Edna is, I just watched the Love Is Not All video and.her piercing voice makes you listen to the truthful boldly repeated words, thank you so much for sharing!!

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    1. I agree – she was eloquently honest and able to draw readers into the story so deeply that they believed it was about them.

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  3. I love her. She was so brilliant. She is almost as quotable as Dorothy Parker….but no one can match Dorothy quotes….they kill me! Happy Birtday dear Edna……

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    1. Ah, dear Dorothy Parker!! Brilliant wit!

      “If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”
      ― Dorothy Parker

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  4. I’ve never heard her before, that was amazing! Her voice really did bring the words to life. Happy weekend! Or, as Cousin Violet says, “What is a week end?”

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  5. I really don’t know enough of her work. Any recommendation of where I should start or perhaps it doesn’t matter and one should just plunge in 🙂

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    1. Let’s just plunge in! I have ordered a biography from the library – “Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay” by Nancy Milford, who also wrote “Zelda: A Biography.” I would also recommend that you listen to her voice because her poetry comes alive.

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      1. Sounds great! I shall take the plunge with you 🙂

        Many thanks for the recommendations!

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  6. A very nice poem. I have even found Edna St. Vincent Millay’s interesiting photos. Thank you, Rebecca.

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    1. I am so pleased that you stopped by for a visit! I first read one of Edna St Vincent Millay’s poems when I was a teenager. I thought she was so brave. My opinion has never changed! Have a great weekend!

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