Edna St Vincent Millay

Edna St Vincent Millay

Edna St Vincent Millay is gebore in Rockland, Maine op 22 Februarie 1892. Cora St Vincent Millay het Edna en haar drie susters alleen grootgemaak nadat haar man die gesinshuis verlaat het. Toe Edna twintig was, verskyn haar gedig, Renascence, in The Lyric Year. 'N Ryk vrou met die naam Caroline B. Dow het gehoor hoe Millay haar poësie voordra en aangebied om vir Millay se opleiding aan Vassar College te betaal.

In 1917, die jaar van haar gradeplegtigheid, publiseer Millay haar eerste boek, Renascence en ander gedigte. Nadat sy Vassar verlaat het, verhuis sy na Greenwich Village, waar sy bevriend raak met skrywers soos Floyd Dell, John Reed en Max Eastman. Die drie mans was almal betrokke by die linkse joernaal, Die Massas, en sy het deelgeneem aan hul veldtog teen die betrokkenheid van die VSA in die Eerste Wêreldoorlog.

Millay het ook by die Provincetown Theatre Group aangesluit. 'N Hut aan die einde van die visserswerf by die hawe van Provincetown is in 'n teater verander. Ander wat vir die groep geskryf of opgetree het, is Floyd Dell, Eugene O'Neill, John Reed, George Gig Cook, Mary Heaton Vorse, Susan Glaspell, Hutchins Hapgood, Neith Boyce en Louise Bryant. Millay is as 'n groot sukses beskou as Annabelle in Floyd Dell se The Angel Intrudes. In 1918 regisseer en neem sy die leiding in haar eie toneelstuk, The Princess Marries the Page. Later regisseer sy haar moraliteitstoneelstuk, Two Slatterns and the King in Provincetown.

In 1920 publiseer Millay 'n nuwe digbundel, 'N Paar vye uit distels. Dit het aansienlike kontroversie veroorsaak, aangesien die gedigte handel oor kwessies soos vroulike seksualiteit en feminisme. Haar volgende digbundel, Die Harpwewer (1923), ontvang die Pulitzer -prys vir poësie. Die skrywer, Dorothy Parker, skryf: 'Soos almal destyds, volg ek in die voetspore van Edna St Vincent Millay, ongelukkig in my eie aaklige sneakers .... Maagde, of ons nou was of nie. Mooi soos sy was, het juffrou Millay baie skade aangedoen met haar dubbel brandende kerse. Sy het poësie so maklik laat lyk dat ons dit almal kon doen. Maar natuurlik kon ons nie . "

Floyd Dell onthou hoe hy 'n partytjie bygewoon het in die huis van Dudley Field Malone en Doris Stevens, toe hy sien hoe Edna vir Eugen Boissevain, die wewenaar van Inez Milholland, ontmoet: "Ons was almal besig om charades te speel in die huis van Dudley Malone en Doris Stevens. Edna Millay was pas terug van 'n jaar in Europa. Eugene en Edna het die deel van twee geliefdes gehad in 'n heerlike farske uitvinding, tegelyk Rabelaisian en romanties. Hulle het wonderlik opgetree, so opvallend dat dit vir ons almal duidelik was dat dit Dit was nie net toneelspel nie. Ons het die ongewone voorreg gehad om 'n man en 'n meisie gewelddadig en in die openbaar op mekaar verlief te sien, en dit vir mekaar te sê en dit baie mooi te doen. "

Die egpaar trou in 1923. Hulle woon in 'n plaashuis met die naam Steepletop, naby Austerlitz. Albei was gelowiges in vrye liefde en daar is ooreengekom dat hulle 'n oop huwelik moet hê. Boissevain het Millay se literêre loopbaan bestuur, en dit het die baie gewilde voorlesings van haar werk ingesluit. In sy outobiografie, Tuiskoms (1933), sê Floyd Dell dat hy "nog nooit gedigte so mooi gelees het lees nie".

In 1927 het sy saam met ander radikale soos John Dos Passos, Alice Hamilton, Paul Kellog, Jane Addams, Heywood Broun, William Patterson, Upton Sinclair, Dorothy Parker, Ben Shahn, Felix Frankfurter, John Howard Lawson, Freda Kirchway, Floyd Dell, Bertrand Russell, John Galsworthy, Arnold Bennett, George Bernard Shaw en HG Wells in die veldtog teen die voorgestelde teregstelling van Nicola Sacco en Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Die dag voor die teregstelling is Millay gearresteer tydens 'n betoging in Boston omdat hy 'gesit en ronddwaal' het en die bordjie 'If These Men Are Executed, Justice is Dead in Massachusetts' gedra het.

Later sou Millay verskeie gedigte skryf oor die Sacco-Vanzetti-saak. Die bekendste hiervan was Justice Denied in Massachusetts. Haar volgende digbundel, Die bok en die sneeu (1928) het verskeie ander ingesluit, waaronder Hangman's Oak, The Anguish, Wine from These Grapes en aan diegene sonder medelye. Floyd Dell, 'n langtermynvriend, het oor haar gesê: 'Edna St. Vincent Millay was 'n persoon met soveel veelkantige sjarme dat om haar te ken, 'n geweldige verryking van jou lewe en nuwe horisonne het ... Edna Millay maar met sommige van haar gedigte sou sy ook waardigheid en soetheid gee aan die passievolle vriendskappe tussen meisies in die adolessensie, waar hulle verskrik staan ​​vir die bogeys wat die ryk van volwasse man-en-vrou agtervolg. liefde, en draai 'n rukkie terug om in die betowerde tuin van die kinderjare te bly. Sy het 'n gawe vir vriendskap. Mense probeer 'n onderskeid tref tussen vriendskap en liefde; maar vriendskap het vir haar al die openhartigheid en vreesloosheid van liefde, as liefde het vir haar die vreugde en vrygewigheid van vriendskap gehad. ”

In 1931 publiseer Millay, Dodelike onderhoud (1931) 'n volume van 52 sonnette ter viering van 'n onlangse liefdesverhouding. Edmund Wilson beweer dat die boek enkele van die grootste gedigte van die 20ste eeu bevat. Ander was meer krities en verkies die meer politieke materiaal wat daarin verskyn het Die bok en die sneeu.

In 1934 vra Arthur Ficke Edna St. Vincent Millay om die "vyf vereistes vir die geluk van die menslike ras" neer te skryf. Sy antwoord: ''n Werk - iets waarby u elke dag 'n paar uur moet werk; 'n versekering dat u ten minste die volgende week minstens een maaltyd per dag sal eet; 'n geleentheid om al die lande van die wêreld te besoek, om kennis te maak met die gebruike en hul kultuur; Vryheid in godsdiens, of vryheid van alle godsdienste, soos u verkies; 'n Versekering dat geen deur vir u toegemaak word nie, - dat u so hoog kan klim as wat u u leer kan bou. "

Millay se volgende digbundel, Wyn van hierdie druiwe (1934) het die merkwaardige Conscientious Objector ingesluit, 'n gedig wat haar sterk standpunte oor pasifisme uitgespreek het. Jagter, watter steengroef? (1939) handel ook oor politieke kwessies soos die Spaanse burgeroorlog en die groei van fascisme.

Tydens die Tweede Wêreldoorlog het Millay haar standpunt van die pasifiste laat vaar en patriotiese gedigte geskryf soos Not to be Spattered by His Blood (1941), Murder at Lidice (1942) en Poem and Prayer vir die bundel Indringende leër (1944).

Eugen Boissevain sterf in Boston op 29 Augustus 1949 aan longkanker. Edna St Vincent Millay is op 19 Oktober 1950 dood aan die onderkant van die trap in Steepletop aangetref.

'N Meisie was nodig om die vernuftige rol in die eerste van hierdie toneelstukke te speel, Die engel dring in. In reaksie op die oproep kom 'n skraal dogtertjie met rooi-goue hare na die groen kamer oor die teater en lees Annabelle se reëls. Sy kyk haar ligsinnige deel tot in die volmaaktheid, en lees die reëls so winsgewend dat sy dadelik verloof is - met 'n salaris van niks, dit is ons artistieke gewoonte. Sy het haar naam en adres gelos terwyl sy vertrek, en toe sy weg was, lees ons die naam en was verbaas, want dit was "Edna Millay". Ons het gewonder of dit moontlik Edna St. Vincent Millay kan wees, die skrywer van daardie pragtige en verstommende gedig, Renascence, wat pas hierdie jaar in 'n bundel van haar gedigte gepubliseer is, onder die titel, alhoewel dit in verskyn het Die lirieke jaar terug in 1912 - 'n prys -poësiekompetisie waarin, as beoordelaars wat hulle is, nie die prys gewen het nie.

En dit was inderdaad sy. Sy was pas afgestudeer aan Vassar en het na New York gekom om roem te soek, nie as digter nie, maar as aktrise: want wie sou verwag om 'n bestaan ​​te maak om poësie te maak? Sy het nog 'n snaar aan haar boog, as 'n musikale komponis. Sy het 'n paar van haar eie gedigte op baie mooi musiek gemaak, waaronder haar gedig, Mariposa...

Vroeg in ons kennismaking, tydens die eerste repetisies, het ek gepraat van haar verstommend mooi gedig, Renascence, geskryf op die ouderdom van negentien; en dit het geblyk dat 'n gedeelte daarvan op agtienjarige ouderdom geskryf is. 'Ek veronderstel nie,' het sy gesê, 'dat enigiemand kan weet waar die twee dele aan mekaar gekoppel is.' Ek is vol vertroue ek kan; en sy wed minagtend dat ek nie kon nie. Die volgende aand het ek gewys op die twee reëls wat die einde van die vroeëre en die begin van die latere deel was. Sy erken verbaas dat ek daarin geslaag het. 'Boonop,' het ek gesê, 'is hierdie eerste reëls van die tweede deel later as die res van die gedig geskryf, en vervang dit 'n paar reëls waarmee die twee dele oorspronklik saamgevoeg is' - 'n langer gedeelte, of 'n korter, I vergeet wat ek gesê het. Wat ek ook al gesê het, dit was eintlik andersom; maar die gedeelte is op 'n later tydstip as die res van die gedig geskryf en het 'n paar vroeëre reëls vervang wat die twee dele met mekaar verbind het. Sy was baie verbaas en 'n bietjie verwonderd oor my ongelooflike kritieke magte. Ek was self 'n bietjie verbaas, alhoewel ek die vorige aand nogal seker was, het ek die gedig vir myself gelees en die stemming en styl en ritme van sy reëls met 'n mate van innerlike gevoel 'geproe', dat daar drie tydelike afdelings was. in die gedig; maar dit was die eerste keer dat ek my kritiese verstand so 'n delikate en skynbaar moeilike taak gestel het.

Ek hoor juffrou Millay poësie lees, haar eie en ander poësie; en ek het nog nooit gedigte so mooi hoor lees nie ... Haar voordragstem het 'n lieflikheid wat soms hartverskeurend was. Ek het dadelik verlief geraak op haar stem; en met haar gees, toe ek dit leer ken, so vol ontembare moed. Maar daar was iets in haar waarvan een in verwondering gestaan ​​het - sy het as digter nie net sterflik gelyk nie, maar 'n godin; en hoewel 'n mens haar nie kan liefhê nie, het 'n mens haar hopeloos liefgehad, soos 'n godin liefgehad moet word. Miskien het sy haar jammer gekry en terselfdertyd aanbid omdat sy 'n verlore jeug was. Die eensame, onbereikbare, tragies mooi, onmenslike, afgeleë en goddelike kwaliteit van een wat op 'n oomblik 'n bang dogtertjie uit Maine was, en op ander oomblikke 'n sober onsterflikheid, was iets wat almal wat haar geken het, gedryf het om gedigte te skryf die poging om die erkenning van haar lieflike vreemdheid uit te druk ...

Sy het in 'n aantal toneelstukke in Provincetown opgetree - natuurlik sonder betaling - en het tans deelgeneem aan een van die Theatre Guild -produksies. Sy het daar groot hoop gehad, en toe sy nie 'n verwagte rol in die volgende toneelstuk kry nie, het sy gehuil soos 'n hartseer kind. Sy het voortgegaan om pragtige poësie te skryf en dit met afkeurstrokies uit die tydskrifte te kry. Later het sy onder 'n skuilnaam vir sommige van die tydskrifte hackwerk gedoen om die wolf van die deur af te hou.

Altyd die onderwyser as ek die geringste verskoning gehad het, het ek ernstig gepraat oor pasifisme, revolusie, Sowjet -Rusland en psigoanalise vir haar. Sy was baie revolusionêr in al haar simpatie en 'n heelhartige feminis. Inez Milholland was op universiteitsdae haar heldin; dat die militante leier van die stryd om vrouevryheid opgeskort is in 'n geskokte afkeuring van Vassar, maar sedertdien sy trots en roem geword het, soos Edna Millay self sou wees, nadat sy geskors is weens 'n onbeduidende oortreding van 'n dom reël. Op 'n keer gee ek vir Edna Millay 'n bronsknoppie wat in my kamer gelaat is, een van die wat toegeken is aan die vroue en meisies wat tydens die militante stemregtog gevang is. Trane kom in haar oë. 'Ek sou eerder die reg hê om dit te dra as enigiets waaraan ek kan dink,' het sy gesê ...

Sy het 'n gawe vir vriendskap gehad. Mense probeer 'n onderskeid tref tussen vriendskap en liefde; maar vriendskap het vir haar alle openhartigheid en vreesloosheid van liefde gehad, soos liefde vir haar die vreugde en vrygewigheid van vriendskap gehad het.

Millay het haar herhaaldelike hoofpyn met 'n sielkundige bespreek. Hy vra haar: "Ek wonder of dit ooit by jou opgekom het dat jy soms, hoewel jy dit amper nie bewus is nie, soms 'n impuls na 'n persoon van jou eie geslag kan kry?" Sy antwoord: "O, jy bedoel ek is homoseksueel! Natuurlik is ek, en ook heteroseksueel, maar wat het dit met my hoofpyn te doen?"

Edna St. Vincent Millay was 'n persoon van so veelzijdige sjarme dat om haar te ken, 'n geweldige verryking van jou lewe en nuwe horisonne sou hê. Dit was iets wat 'n mens altyd bly sou onthou. Op agtien tot twintig het sy geskryf Renascence. Nooit is die eenvoudige skoonheid van die aarde meer treffend vasgevang in woorde wat in hierdie meisie se gedig was: nooit dink ek, in alle poësie.

Edna Millay sou 'n geliefde digter word. Maar met 'n paar van haar gedigte sou sy ook waardigheid en soetheid gee aan die passievolle vriendskappe tussen meisies in die adolessensie, waar hulle verskrik staan ​​vir die bogeys wat die ryk van volwasse man-en-vrou-liefde agtervolg, en terugkeer vir 'n terwyl hy in die betowerde tuin van die kinderjare vertoef.

Sy het 'n gawe vir vriendskap gehad. Mense probeer 'n onderskeid tref tussen vriendskap en liefde; maar vriendskap het vir haar alle eerlikheid en vreesloosheid van liefde gehad, soos liefde vir haar die vreugde en vrygewigheid van vriendskap gehad het.

Laat ons dan ons tuine laat vaar en huis toe gaan

En sit in die sitkamer.

Sal die larikspur bloei of die mielies onder die wolk groei?

Suur vir die vrugbare saad

Is die koue aarde onder hierdie wolk,

Ons het gestapel vir kwaksalwer en onkruid, maar kan nie oorwin nie;

Ons het die lemme van ons hoewe teen die stingels daarvan gebuig.

Laat ons huis toe gaan en in die sitkamer sit.

Nie in ons tyd nie

Sal die wolk gaan en die son opkom soos voorheen,

Voordelig vir ons

Uit die glinsterende baai,

En die warm winde waai na binne uit die see

Beweeg die mielies

Met 'n rustige geluid.

Verlore, verlate,

Staan die blou hooi-rek by die leë maaier.

En die blare val op die grond neer,

Laat die boom ongevrug.

Die son wat ons bukende rug warm gemaak het en die onkruid ontwortel het -

Ons sal dit nie weer voel nie.

Ons sal in die duisternis sterf en in die reën begrawe word.

Wat van die wonderlike dooies

Ons het geërf -

Furrows soet vir die graan, en die onkruid gedemp -

Sien nou die slak en die skimmelroof.

Die kwaad oorweldig nie

Die larikspur en die mielies;

Ons het gesien hoe hulle ondergaan.

Laat ons hier sit, stil sit,

Hier in die sitkamer tot ons sterf;

Op die stap van die dood op die stap, staan ​​op en gaan;

Laat hierdie pragtige deur aan ons kinders se kinders oor,

En hierdie iep,

En 'n verwoeste aarde om te bewerk

Met 'n stukkende skoffel.

Ek sal sterf, maar

dit is al wat ek vir die dood sal doen.

Ek hoor hoe hy sy perd uit die stalletjie lei;

Ek hoor die gekletter op die skuurvloer.

Hy is haastig; hy het besigheid in Kuba,

besigheid op die Balkan, baie oproepe om vanoggend te maak.

Maar ek sal nie die toom vashou nie

terwyl hy die omtrek vasmaak.

En hy kan self opklim:

Ek sal hom nie 'n been gee nie.

Al swaai hy met my sweep oor my skouers,

Ek sal hom nie vertel watter kant toe die jakkals gehardloop het nie.

Met sy hoef op my bors, sal ek hom nie vertel waarheen nie

die swart seuntjie skuil in die moeras.

Ek sal sterf, maar dit is al wat ek vir die dood sal doen;

Ek is nie op sy betaalstaat nie.

Ek sal hom nie die plek van my vriende vertel nie

ook nie van my vyande nie.

Al belowe hy my baie,

Ek sal hom nie die roete na enige man se deur toewys nie.

Is ek 'n spioen in die land van die lewendes,

dat ek mense aan die dood moet oorgee?

Broer, die wagwoord en die planne van ons stad

is veilig by my; nooit deur my nie Sal u oorweldig word.

As ons oud is en hierdie vreugdevolle are

Is ysige kanale na 'n gedempte stroom,

En uit al ons brand hulle oorskot

Geen swakste vonk om ons af te vuur nie, selfs nie in 'n droom nie,

Dit is ons troos: dat dit nie gesê is nie

Toe ons jonk en warm was en in ons beste jare,

Op ons rusbank lê ons soos die dooies lê,

Die tyd wat jy nie terugkeer nie, wegslaan.

O lief, o swaar, o my lief,

As die oggend haar spies oor die land slaan,

En ons moet opstaan ​​en ons bewapen en teregwys

Die gewaagde daglig met 'n vaste hand,

Moenie afslag kry as u weet nie

Ons het opgestaan, maar 'n uur gelede.

'N Werk - iets waaraan u elke dag 'n paar uur moet werk; 'N Versekering dat u ten minste die volgende week ten minste een maaltyd per dag sal eet; 'N Geleentheid om al die lande ter wêreld te besoek, om kennis te maak met die gebruike en hul kultuur; Vryheid in godsdiens, of vryheid van alle godsdienste, soos u verkies; 'N Versekering dat geen deur vir u toegemaak is nie - dat u so hoog kan klim as wat u u leer kan bou.


Edna St Vincent Millay - Geskiedenis

Edna St. Vincent Millay: 1892-1950

deur Holly Peppe, literêre eksekuteur

Deel 1: Maine, Vassar, New York

Edna St. Vincent Millay, gebore in Rockland, Maine op 22 Februarie 1892 en opgevoed in die nabygeleë Camden, was die oudste van drie dogters wat grootgemaak is deur 'n alleenstaande moeder, Cora Buzzell Millay, wat die gesin onderhou het as 'n privaat verpleegster. . Nadat sy in 1900 van haar man geskei het, toe Millay agt was, Norma ses en Kathleen drie, het Cora gesukkel om bymekaar te kom, maar het die meisies 'n konstante dieet gegee van poësie, letterkunde en musiek, en het hulle byvoorbeeld aangemoedig om gedigte te skryf , verhale en liedjies.

Edna en mdash noem Vincent deur familie en vriende en mdash was 'n talentvolle, lewendige, soms té dramatiese adolessent wat daarvan gehou het om ure langs die see deur te bring en die name van blomme, plante en medisinale kruie by haar ma te leer. Selfs as 'n meisie was sy 'n produktiewe skrywer en het sy poësiepryse gewen uit 'n literêre tydskrif vir kinders en kinders. In 'n asemlose lofsang vir die natuur, skryf sy, & ldquoOh wêreld! Ek kan jou nie naby genoeg hou nie! Jou winde, jou wye grys lug! & Rdquo Op hoërskool het sy in skooltoneelstukke geskryf en 'n hoofrol gespeel en die skool se literêre tydskrif geredigeer.

Op 19, nadat sy die hoërskool voltooi het, maar sonder geld vir die universiteit, het sy in Camden gebly en huis gehou vir haar susters. Op voorstel van haar ma het sy die lang gedig, & ldquoRenascence & rdquo-107 rympaartjies wat 'n lewensveranderende geestelike ontwaking beskryf-ingeskryf in 'n poësiekompetisie onder die naam & ldquoE. Vincent Millay. & Rdquo Die gedig het nie gewen nie, maar toe dit verskyn Die lirieke jaar bloemlesing in 1912, het lesers sowel as kritici dit as die beste gedig in die boek beskou, en almal het aangeneem dat die skrywer ouer as manlik is. In 'n opmerking aan die redakteur het 'n ander digter in die boek, Arthur Ficke (wat haar lewenslange vriend sou word), vermoed dat geen lieflike jong ding van twintig ooit 'n gedig geëindig het waar hierdie een eindig nie: dit verg 'n dapper mannetjie van vyf en veertig om dit te doen. & rdquo
Met kenmerkende wysheid en reaksie, het Millay geantwoord, en ldquoI sal eenvoudig nie 'n lsquobrawny mannetjie wees nie. . . Ek klou vas aan my vroulikheid! & Rdquo

Daardie somer het Millay & ldquoRenascence & rdquo vir gaste in 'n plaaslike herberg voorgehou waar Norma gedurende die somer as 'n kelnerin gewerk het. 'N Vrou in die gehoor, Caroline Dow, die hoof van die YWCA National Training School in New York, het dadelik Millay & rsquos se talent en potensiaal herken en aangebied om haar te help om universiteit toe te gaan. Millay was opgewonde en besluit op Vassar.

Nadat sy in die somer van 1913 voorbereidende kursusse by Barnard gevolg het, het Millay 'n volle kursus by Vassar geneem en haar toneelspelvaardighede in toneelstukke en wedstryde geslyp, waarvan sy self komponeer het. Sy hou daarvan om die klassieke te bestudeer, maar hou nie van die reëls nie: & ldquo Hulle vertrou ons met alles behalwe mans, en sy skryf aan Ficke. Net voor sy afstuderen in 1917, hoewel sy van die kampus betrap is en gesê het dat sy nie met haar klas kon klaarkom nie, het die kollege -president die besluit op die laaste oomblik omgekeer en gesê dat hy Shelley & rsquos nie op sy drumpel wou hê nie. & rdquo

Na die gradeplegtigheid verhuis Millay na Greenwich Village en geniet die boheemse leefstyl van die dag. Saam met haar suster Norma, publiseer sy gedigte in gewilde tydskrifte soos Vanity Fair, Ainslee & rsquos, en die Forum, en digbundels in salo's en skraal leervolumes begeer deur 'n groeiende leserspubliek. Om haar inkomste te vergroot, publiseer sy kortverhale en satiriese sketse onder die pseudoniem Nancy Boyd. En sy en Norma het ook saam met die Provincetown Players opgetree, waar Millay een van haar eie toneelstukke geregisseer het, Aria da Capo, in 1919, wat tot goeie resensies gelei het.

Millay het 'n gewillige groep liefhebbers gelok onder die manlike letterkundiges van die dag: Floyd Dell, John Peale Bishop, Edmund Wilson en Witter Bynner, maar weier om haarself toe te gee aan enigiemand of enigiets behalwe haar werk. In 1921, omdat sy haar poësie wou gee en gras wou voed, het sy vir twee jaar in Europa geseil, onder kontrak om twee prosastukke per maand te skryf vir Vanity Fair as buitelandse korrespondent.

Die jaar dat sy terugkeer na New York, 1923, was 'n keerpunt in haar lewe en loopbaan: sy ontvang die pas ingestelde Pulitzer-prys vir poësie en ontmoet haar toekomstige man, Eugen Boissevain, by 'n huispartytjie in Croton-on-Hudson, New York . Op hul troudag 'n paar maande later was Millay siek met dermprobleme, en Eugen het haar onmiddellik na die troue na Manhattan gery vir 'n noodoperasie. Voor die prosedure, met verwysing na haar Pulitzer -prys, het sy gesê: 'As ek nou sterf, sal ek ten minste onsterflik wees.'

Eugen het Millay geduldig na die gesondheid verpleeg in Croton-on-Hudson en in Greenwich Village, waar hy 'n smal baksteenhuis met drie verdiepings gehuur het in Bedfordstraat 75 & frac12. Van daar af het hulle op hul wittebrood begin met leestoere en 'n reis van agt maande om die wêreld.

Toe hulle aan die einde van 1924 terugkeer, was Millay angstig om uit Manhattan te verhuis waar sy kon konsentreer op haar werk. Ek kan nie in New York skryf nie, en Millay het aan 'n verslaggewer gesê. Dit is baie opwindend daar en ek vind baie dinge om oor te skryf en ek versamel baie idees, maar ek moet weggaan waar dit stil is. & rdquo

Deel II: Die digter op Steepletop

In Maart 1925 antwoord sy 'n advertensie in die New York Times vir 'n verlate bessieplaas op 'n heuwel in Austerlitz, New York, 'n paar uur se ry noord van Manhattan. Die prys op die 435 hektaar, 'n plaashuis en verskillende skure en buitegeboue was $ 9,000. Millay en Eugen het vinnig beweeg om die transaksie te bekom, en het ook spoedig nog 300 hektaar aangeskaf.

Millay het hul nuwe huis & ldquoSteepletop & rdquo vernoem na die pienkbloeiende steilbos wat in die veld en weide daar wild gegroei het. Dit sal 'n lieflike plek wees as dit klaar is, en sy het aan haar ma geskryf, en dit het ons s'n, ons almal, ongeveer sewehonderd hektaar grond en 'n lieflike huis, en geen huur om te betaal nie, net 'n goeie gentleman -verband om te bly skeer 'n sny af. & rdquo

Die begeerte van Millay & rsquos na 'n rustige lewe het die duisende toegewyde lesers wat die topverkoper-digter beskou het as 'n vrye gees wat aan Greenwich Village behoort, verras, en vir ewig die boheemse lewe in haar ikoniese vierlyn-kwatryn voorgehou:

& ldquo My kers brand aan beide kante
dit sal nie die nag duur nie
Maar ai, my vyande, en o, my vriende en mdash
Dit gee 'n pragtige lig! & Rdquo

Vir die ontnugterde naoorlogse jeug wat haar as hul woordvoerder vir vroueregte en sosiale gelykheid beskou het, verteenwoordig Millay die opstandige gees van hul generasie. Alhoewel sy tradisionele poëtiese vorme soos lirieke en sonnette bevoordeel het, het sy konvensionele geslagsrolle in poësie met vrymoedigheid omgekeer, die vroulike minnaar in plaas van die manlike vryer bemagtig, en 'n nuwe, skokkende presedent geskep deur vroulike seksualiteit te erken as 'n lewensvatbare literêre onderwerp:

Ek, as vrou gebore en benoud
Volgens al die behoeftes en idees van my soort,
Word deur u neiging aangespoor om dit te vind
Jou persoon regverdig, en voel 'n sekere lus
Om u liggaam en gewig op my bors te dra:
. . .

Ek sal jou met liefde of seisoen onthou
My smaad van jammerte, laat ek dit duidelik stel:
Ek vind hierdie waansin onvoldoende rede
Vir gesprek as ons weer ontmoet.

Maar terwyl Millay haar roem gewillig omhels, was sy gereed om die platteland te vestig en te fokus op wat 'n indrukwekkende werk sou word, wat nie net poësie en prosa insluit nie, maar 'n volskaalse operalibretto. Kort nadat hulle na Steepletop verhuis het, skryf Millay aan haar ma en susters in Maine, en ek is seker dat ek op een van die mooiste plekke ter wêreld werk soos Trojane, honde, slawe, ens. , en loodgieterswerk ingesit, en 'n motorhuis gebou, ens. & ndash Ons is mal daaroor & ndash & amp Ek het op die oomblik soveel dinge wat ek moet doen voordat ek 'n uur ouer is, en jy weet hoe dit is En ek weet amper of ek met 'n pen of met 'n skroewedraaier skryf. . .

In die volgende paar jaar het Millay en Eugen die eiendom omskep in 'n elegante landgoed met gastehuise met blomme, kruie en groente, 'n tennisbaan wat uitkyk op die heuwels van Berkshire, en 'n versonke tuinarea in die fondament van 'n ou skuur (en ruïnes en rdquo) wat bestaan ​​uit van sewe tuinkamers geskei deur klipmure en arborvitae -heinings. Die & ldquorooms & rdquo bevat 'n kroegarea, kompleet met klipbanke en 'n fontein, 'n roostuin, iris & ldquoroom, en 'n swembad met springbronne (waar hulle en hul gaste au naturel geswem het), kleedkamers buite met gietyster kleedtafels en 'n pluimbalbaan in 'n gebied genaamd die dingle, alles toeganklik deur hekke wat tussen bome gehang is.

Die tuinkamers is versier met kuns. Norma & rsquos se man, Charlie Ellis, het 'n naak geverf wat oor die kroeg gehang het (met motorverf om die weer te weerstaan) en vier houtrondelle wat aan die houtdeure wat na die kroeg, swembad en somerhuis lei, gehang het. Eugen het ook 'n Sears & amp Roebuck -skuur gebou, wat oorkant die padda sou opgaan, vir vee en perde. Millay was lief vir ry en het haar eie perd en saal gehad.

Eugen beskou homself as 'n boer en 'n boer en wil 'n werkende plaas herskep. Hy het 'n nutsman, John Pinnie (wat dekades by Steepletop sou werk) gehuur, en 'n paar ander mans om die grond te bewerk en groente te plant om te eet en te verkoop. Hy het ook 15 kinders ingebring om bloubessies te pluk, en uiteindelik ander hulp gehuur om frambose, swartbessies, aarbeie, strome, appels en pere te pluk en te krat. Hy en Millay het ook gejag, gehengel en druiwe ingebring om hul eie wyn te maak, wat hulle in rakke in die kelder gebêre het.

Millay was in haar element op die Steepletop -heuwel, omring deur die natuur, een van haar belangrikste bronne van poëtiese inspirasie. Haar seisoenale beelde wissel van die tradisionele, toe sy 'n ryp voor die winter gelyk stel aan die dood (& ldquo En jy ook moet sterf, geliefde stof & rdquo) tot die onverwagte & ndash & ldquoOh Herfs! Herfs! & ndashwat is die lente vir my? & rdquo (& ldquoThe Death of Autumn & rdquo). In Dodelike onderhoud, haar wyd aangehaalde 52-sonnetreeks, weerspieël die veranderende seisoene die lewensiklus van 'n mislukte liefdesverhouding. Met sy voorspelbare jaarlikse siklusse van lewe en dood, groei en verval, dien die natuur Millay as 'n organiserende beginsel in haar skryfwerk en in haar lewe.

Sy beweer 'n klein buitegebou in 'n bloubessieveld as haar skryfkajuit, waar sy gereeld by haar Duitse herder, Altair, kom. Toe die kajuit in 1928 afgebrand het, het sy 'n ander een net teen die heuwel van die huis laat bou, gemaak van ongeverfde denneplanke. In 1931, die jaar toe haar ma sterf, omsingel sy die kajuit met 31 wit denne om haar aan haar ma en Maine te herinner. Op die heuwel wat na die kajuit lei, plant sy Narcissus poeticus, ook bekend as die narcis van die digter. Binne was die meubels eenvoudig en funksioneel: 'n klein hout lessenaar en stoel, 'n houtstoof, 'n vleuelstoel en 'n chaise lounge.

Steepletop was die heiligdom van Millay & rsquos. Daar skryf sy die grootste deel van die libretto vir 'n opera in Engeland uit die 10de eeu, The King & rsquos Henchman, wat deur een van haar goeie vriende, die komponis Deems Taylor, getoonset is. Toe die opera in Februarie 1927 in die Metropolitan -operahuis oopmaak, Die New Yorker het dit die grootste Amerikaanse opera tot dusver genoem. & rdquo Inderdaad was daar 17 gordynoproepe by die première en 10 000 eksemplare van die libretto wat die volgende paar weke verkoop is.

Millay het baie van haar digbundels op Steepletop saamgestel en saamgestel: Die bok in die sneeu (1928) Dodelike onderhoud (1931) Wyn van hierdie druiwe (1934) Gesprek om middernag (1936), en die herskryf nadat die eerste manuskrip Huntsman vernietig is, Watter steengroef? (1939) Maak Helder die pyle (1940), sowel as vertalings van Baudelaire & rsquos Fleur du Mal (met George Dillon) en verskeie lang gedigte, insluitend Die moord op Lidice (1942) en Gedig en gebed vir 'n indringende leër, in opdrag van die Writers War Board.

Toe sy nie skryf nie, spandeer Millay ure aan tuinmaak, versamel en druk honderde spesies veldblomme en hou op 'n regte manier skrywers by met al die voëls wat sy sien en gedetailleerde aantekeninge oor haar tuinbedrywighede. & ldquo Het al my onkruid sonder 'n steek en 'n wonderlike bruin kleur gekry, & rdquo het sy in haar tuindagboek geskryf en & ldquoOns het die lila aan die wortels van hul hare opgetrek !! & rdquo Sy en haar ma en tante het blomme en plante uitgeruil en mekaar bygehou tot op datum oor hul vordering. Sy het ook nuus oor hul kombuistuin en rsquos -oorvloed met haar moeders en susters gedeel:

Ons het hierdie somer 'n wonderlike tuin gehad, en haven & rsquot het 'n groente gekoop, maar weet hoe lank. Laat ek u net vir die plesier vertel wat ons uit ons tuin gehad het: Aartappels, kool, blomkool, pampoen, ertjies, toubone, skulpbone, limabone komkommers radyse, raap, wortels, pampoene, suikermielies, tamaties, eiervrugte, venkel, pietersielie, knoffel, en CANTELOUPES!

Hoewel Millay gedurende haar volwasse lewe aan derm- en ander gesondheidskwessies gely het, het sy en Eugen, terwyl sy sterk gevoel het, dit geniet om te kuier en familie by Steepletop. By goeie weer het hulle partytjies by die kroeg gehou (waar die blomme met gin & rdquo besproei is) en uitgebreide tennistoernooie, met pryse en trofeë, op 'n groot kleibaan bo -op die heuwel. In 1930 het hulle 'n groot drie dae lange huispartytjie gehou vir vyftig of sestig gaste wat by hulle gebly het en in drie van hul vriende en huise in die omgewing. Die belangrikste aantrekkingskrag, behalwe om te drink, naak te swem en ander feestye, was 'n toneelstuk deur 'n rondreisende groep akteurs, die Jitney Players, wat opgetree het in 'n amfiteater wat hulle op die heuwel bo die huis opgerig het.

Millay en Eugen was mal oor die formaliteit om 'n landgoed te bestuur. Hulle het huishulp ingeroep wat hulle gebel het, en gewoonlik 'n paartjie (soms Frans of Sweeds) wat as kok en butler sou dien, en een of twee huishoudsters. In die eetkamer, net 'n paar tree oor 'n klip -voorportaal uit die kombuis, het Millay 'n klokkestelsel onder die eetkamertafel laat installeer, sodat hulle die butler tydens die ete kon ontbied indien nodig. Na aanleiding van die Europese tradisie, het sy en Eugen, selfs as hulle alleen was, elke aand geklee vir aandete.

Toe bediendes nie op die perseel was nie, het Eugen etes voorberei en ander huishoudelike take versorg. Hy het sy invoeronderneming opgegee om vir Millay te sorg toe hulle na Steepletop verhuis het, en hy het aan 'n joernalis geglo dat dit die moeite werd is om te skryf, selfs al skryf sy net een sonnet in 'n jaar as om vir my te wees 'n bietjie koffie koop en dit vir 'n klein bietjie verkoop toere, en natuurlik die bestuur van die huishouding.

Eugen het sy huishoudelike pligte uitgevoer met goeie humor en af ​​en toe 'n bravadevertoning. Gedurende hul eerste sneeuwinter op die heuwel, toe Millay & rsquos se ma by hulle was, skryf hy aan Ficke:

Ons het 12 ton steenkool in die kelder en 15 toue hout in die skuur, drie kaggels, twee stowe, 'n oond, 'n warmwaterverwarmer en baie vuurhoutjies. Ons het duisende blikke van alles, 'n groot sak aartappels, 100 pond. suiker, meel, boontjies, ertjies, rys. Aan die balke hang 'n enorme ham, spek, varkvleis, 'n dapper stut eende, pond en pond koffie, vars vis wat in 'n prehistoriese fossiel gevries is en deur moeder Millay tot 'n glorieryke visdouer in New England herleef is.

This arrangement&mdashwith Eugen taking care of everything&mdashsuited Millay perfectly. &ldquoEugen and I live like two bachelors,&rdquo she said. &ldquoHe, being the one who throws household things off more easily than I, shoulders that end of our existence, and I have my work to do, which is the writing of poetry.&rdquo

The kitchen, more Eugen&rsquos domain than hers, was a typical farm kitchen with a wood burning cook stove and an icebox dependent upon blocks of ice. Steepletop did not have electricity until the late 1940&rsquos when, as Millay described in her poem, &ldquoMen Working,&rdquo she watched a crew &ldquoputting in the poles: bringing the electric light.&rdquo Soon afterward the Dames tuisblad offered to remodel the kitchen&mdashadding an electric stove, refrigerator, freezer and porcelain sink, in exchange for full photo coverage and a feature profile of Millay aptly called &ldquoPoet&rsquos Kitchen.&rdquo The renovation included painting the walls a fashionable sky blue and adding a breakfast nook with salmon-colored Naugahyde cushions. Millay refused to be photographed for the article, with its well-meaning but unfounded &ldquoobservations&rdquo about her domestic life. The writer claims that the poet &ldquowashes dishes and scours pots and pans,&rdquo noting &ldquoHow hard to think of the couplet to close the sonnet when there wasn&rsquot a place to put clean dishes!&rdquo And there was more: &ldquoAnd now Miss Millay can wash her woolies in this beautiful kitchen watching the birds!&rdquo

That line was certainly accurate: Millay loved birds, and in her large living room, called the &ldquowithdrawing room,&rdquo she often sat at her &ldquobird window&rdquo near the brick fireplace and admired the feathered creatures who came looking for food. &ldquoShe feeds them!&rdquo Eugen told a visitor. &ldquoShe runs a hotel for birds. She&rsquos up and at it every day before dawn.&rdquo

Opposite the bird window were two pianos placed across from one another under the careful watch of a life-size marble bust of Sappho set on a marble column in the corner. Millay delighted in playing and singing songs she had written, practicing classical pieces she&rsquod learned in early childhood, and inviting other musicians to join her in a duet, trio, or quartet. During the summer she was often joined by the pianist Blanche Bloch and her husband, the conductor and composer Alexander Bloch, who ran a music school in Hillsdale, and some of their string students. Only music rivalled her passion for poetry: &ldquoIndeed, without music I should wish to die,&rdquo she wrote. &ldquoEven poetry, Sweet Patron Muse forgive me the words, is not what music is.&rdquo

Millay&rsquos most private domain was her small library at the top of the stairs where she wrote and consulted the hundreds of research books assembled there, including a classical encyclopedia and a huge Oxford dictionary mounted on a wooden stand. The walls were lined with poetry collections in English, Italian, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Greek, and books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, many personally inscribed by authors. On a rafter in the center of the room, a hand painted wooden sign demanded &ldquoSILENCE.&rdquo

Her bedroom just around the corner, with its small white brick fireplace, also served as a study of sorts, as Millay often wrote in the mornings in longhand, sitting up in bed, after Eugen had delivered her breakfast on a tray. Some days, she would dictate poetry to him to be typed later on. Their mutual love of all things European was reflected in the large bathroom connected to the bedroom, where they had imported and installed one of a bidet. Another was installed in Eugen&rsquos bathroom, down the hall, nearer to his own bedroom and office. Their separate quarters contributed to their shared feeling that their marriage was an open one. In Millay&rsquos words, &ldquoI am just as free as when I was a girl,&rdquo and in Eugen&rsquos, &ldquoVincent and I are live like two men, bachelors, who choose their different jobs. [Yet] we study together. We play together, and it&rsquos a race to keep up with her. It makes me in love with life.&rdquo

By the late 1930&rsquos, though their devotion to one another would stay strong, their life together was about to take a downward turn. Millay&rsquos physical health was in decline, partly because of an unfortunate accident in 1936 that had left her in severe pain, which she relieved with regular, increasingly addictive doses of morphine. In 1940, as war approached in Europe, she took a strong anti-pacifist stand and published a hastily-written book of &ldquopropaganda poems&rdquo that alienated even her most supportive critics. In the years that followed, the deaths of her sister Kathleen, her beloved editor Gene Saxton, and dear friend Arthur Ficke sent her to Doctor&rsquos Hospital in Manhattan for treatment of &ldquomental and emotional exhaustion.&rdquo But the worst shock was still ahead: in 1949, Eugen, age 69, was diagnosed with lung cancer and died suddenly after surgery in Boston.

Devastated, Millay decided to live at Steepletop alone and work through her grief. She refused to see visitors and unplugged the phone because she missed hearing Eugen&rsquos voice when he answered a call. She relied on the local &ldquopostmistress&rdquo to pay her bills and answer the hundreds of condolence letters that arrived after Eugen&rsquos death, and her devoted handyman John Pinnie to care for the property and bring her mail and groceries and firewood.

She found life without Eugen difficult and lonely, but after several months, she began to fill her notebooks with lines that moved toward acceptance of her loss: &ldquoNever before, perhaps, was such a sight! / Only one sky, my breath, and all that blue! / &hellip/ Handsome this day, no matter who has died.&rdquo

Clearly Millay&rsquos intention was to rebuild her life and live on her own. A year after Eugen&rsquos death she had started working on a new book of poems and completed a Thanksgiving poem commissioned by the Saturday Evening Post. But she would never see it published. On October 18, 1950, after an evening at home proofing Latin poetry translations, she slipped and fell down the stairs to her death. She was 58.

Haar New York Times obituary reads: &ldquoCritics agreed, that Greenwich Village and Vassar, plus a gypsy childhood on the rocky coast of Maine, produced one of the greatest American poets of her time.&rdquo

The following year Norma and Charlie moved to Steepletop and Norma devoted the rest of her life to preserving and protecting her sister&rsquos legacy. In 1954 she published Mine the Harvest, a collection of unpublished poems and excerpts from Millay&rsquos journals. She also rescued unfinished poems the poet had left in her writing cabin, including these lines:

Ek hear the rain, it comes down straight
Now I can sleep, I need not wait
To close the windows anywhere.
Tomorrow it may be, I might
Do things to set the whole world right.
There&rsquos nothing I can do tonight.

A National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Steepletop is now the home of the Edna St. Vincent Millay Society. The Society&rsquos mission is &ldquoto illuminate the life and writings of Edna St. Vincent Millay and to preserve and interpret the character of Steepletop, her home and gardens, places where nature inspires the creative spirit.&rdquo

Steepletop is not currently open to visitors. Occasional events may be held, however, to raise much-needed funds. If you are interested in learning more, please consider following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel. or check back on our Events page to keep up-to-date on happenings which may interest you.


Edna St. Vincent Millay 1892 to &ndash1950

American lyrical poet and playwright. She and her two sisters were raised by her mother after her father was asked to leave the family, and they moved from town to town with very little money, but with a trunk full of classic literature. Millay, who went by the name &ldquoVincent&rdquo and was already dating women at school, began submitting her poetry to publications and competitions. Her poem &ldquoRenascence&rdquo was so well received, it earned her a scholarship to attend Vassar. While there, she continued her relationships with women, and would include lesbian undertones in the play The Lamp and the Bell which she wrote for the college. After graduating, she moved to New York City&rsquos Greenwich Village, where she was &ldquovery, very poor and very, very merry.&rdquo Joining the Bohemian art set, she began dating men as well as women, openly identifying as bisexual, and turning down a number of marriage proposals. Her poetry collection A Few Figs from Thistles received attention partially for its frankness around female sexual appetite. At 31, she married Eugen Boissevain, who shared her interest in feminism, and didn&rsquot mind an open relationship. They moved to a blueberry farm upstate called Steepletop, where Millay began gardening, while Boissevain managed and supported his wife&rsquos career. in 1923 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and in 1943 was awarded the Frost Medal for her lifetime of contributions. She continued to write and make public appearances throughout her life, and died only a year after her husband.


Edna St. Vincent Millay Biography

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine on February 22,1892. Her parents, Cora Buzzell Millay, a nurse, and Henry Tolman Millay, who worked for a time in the insurance business, and as a teacher, divorced in 1900 when Vincent was eight.Vincent and her younger sisters spent their early childhood in the Maine towns of Union, Rockport and Camden as well as Newburyport, MA.Vincent, who had a close relationship with her mother and sisters Norma and Kathleen, was named for St. Vincent Hospital in New York City, where her uncle had received care after an accident at sea.

Called Edna by her friends, the young poet was known to her family as Vincent, the name she preferred and would use throughout her life. Although the Millay family did not have much money they did place a great value on culture and literature. Vincent eventually learned to speak six languages and also studied the piano. Vincent lived in Camden from 1903-1913 and during that time she began to make her mark in the literary field.

The young writer had an active life in Camden and belonged to several clubs including the “Huckleberry Finners (Reading Group), the “S.A.T.” (Saturday Afternoon Tea), and Genothad (Sunday School). Her family worshipped at the Congregational Church in Camden.

As a young girl, Vincent studied piano at the Cushing Mansion, under the instruction of John Wheeler Tufts. Also active in theatre, Vincent also participated in many amateur plays while residing in Camden. At Camden High School, where Vincent graduated in 1909, she was a member of the basketball team and served as the class correspondent. She was also the editor of the school publication “Megunticook.” During this time she also made several literary contributions to St. Nicholas Magazine.

When Vincent was 20, she wrote one of her most famous poems, “Renascence” which was also published in 1912 in the publication “The Lyric Year.” That same year she read this memorable piece at the Whitehall Inn in Camden. Her reading was well received by the public and this recitation was instrumental in starting her literary career.

Vincent lived in Camden until she was 20. She entered Vassar College at age 21 and graduated in 1917 with an A.B. degree. Vincent won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 at the age of 30 for her fourth book “The Ballad of the Harp Weaver.” This work is perhaps best known for the famous lines: “My candle burns at both ends it will not last the night but ah my foes, and oh my friends it gives a lovely light.”

Millay and Corinne Sawyer, ca. 1909 (Camden Public Library Archives)

Millay and Corinne Sawyer, ca. 1909
(Camden Public Library Archives)

“Renascence and Other Poems” was Vincent’s first published book. During her career she wrote 15 books including fiction using the pseudonym Nancy Boyd. She also wrote some dramas including work produced by the Provincetown Players on Cape Cod, MA.

The recipient of many honors and awards, Vincent received honorary degrees from Tufts College (University), University of Wisconsin, Colby College, New York University, and The Russell Sage Foundation.

In 1923 Vincent married Eugen Boissevain, a Dutch businessman. She remained in New York City most of her life, where as a feminist and political activist, she lived a Bohemian lifestyle. Boissevain was endlessly devoted to his wife and purchased Ragged Island in Maine for her in 1938. Her life on this tiny island off the Harpswell Coast was the inspiration for her poem titled “Ragged Island.” Vincent and Boissevain later settled in Austerlitz, NY, on a 700-acre farm named “Steepletop,” now a national historic landmark. Vincent died at her home in Austerlitz on October 19, 1950. She is buried at Steepletop.

The Walsh History Center collection contains the scrapbooks created by Millay’s high school friend, Corinne Sawyer. The collection also includes photos, letters, newspaper clippings, and other ephemera.


Edna St Vincent Millay - History

Built in 1892, the year Millay was born, its Victorian glories were removed by Millay to create a simple New England farmhouse. Today the house still holds all of her furniture, books and other possessions, many of which remain where they were on the day she died - October 19, 1950.

The Millay Society is committed to restoring Millay&rsquos historic home to make it an enduring legacy for future generations.

Recent improvements to Millay&rsquos historic home and grounds have been made possible through donor and volunteer support and have included: installation of new HVAC systems, extensive chimney repairs, restoration of the dining room, restoration of Millay&rsquos historic bar and reconstruction of the pergola, Restoration of the Chicken Coop, Tennis Shed and Ice House and a cataloguing of Millay&rsquos personal library (currently underway).

Steepletop is not currently open to visitors.

Millay's personal library with over 3,000 volumes

& quot. incredible addition to the cultural richness of the literary scene in the Berkshires. to survey her life through the myriads of artifacts that remain in the house, literally frozen in time, is unique.” -Olga W.

Millay's library is certainly the highlight of any visit to Steepletop. The library contains over 3,000 volumes of books ranging from potery to the classics to current novels of the period, as well as reasearch books in English, Spanish, French, German and Latin. Many of the books are personally signed by the authors to Millay.

A massive cataloguing process has been continuing over the years wih about half of the collection completed. Many of those tiles are now available to browse here.


Frank Hudson

A longish one this time. I’ll try to make it worth your while.

In the places I go it has been hard to escape Joni Mitchell and the 50-year anniversary of her breakthrough record album Blue this month. Mitchell is one of those artists like Emily Dickinson* or Thelonious Monk who people contemporaneously recognized as someone on the scene, someone whose work might appear at hand or gain mention — but then decades afterward the level of originality and importance of what they had done becomes more and more clear.

Mitchell’s Blue wasn’t immediately recognized as a classic, successful statement. Musically it’s a bit odd, even by the eclectic field of 1971 recordings. Though “singer-songwriter”** was a growing genre at the time, most of them would present their songs in a full band context on record. Instead, Mitchell’s record is spare, often just her voice and one instrument — and sometimes the instrument is a mountain dulcimer at that! She often used her voice unusually, with quick almost yodeling leaps in service of the originality in her melodic contours, and this was off-putting to some. One thing I remember about listening to Joni Mitchell LPs back in my youth was that the amount of volume in her upper register would rattle the plastic frame and enclosures of my tiny portable stereo’s speakers, producing a very unpleasant buzzing distortion.

To the degree that she was noticed in 1971, that she could be a figure who’s fame might outreach her record sales or rock critic esteem — it wasn’t just that she was a successful songwriter for others who could round-off her corners just a bit to present “Clouds (Both Sides Now),” “Woodstock,” of “The Circle Game” to a wider audience than their author could — it was because she was known as (this gets complicated, stay with me here) as the “girlfriend” of a lot of male rock stars. This got joked about. The now infamous Rolling Stone “Old Lady*** of the Year Award” in 1971, or a joke picture of a purported Joni Mitchell LP with a song listing of: 1. Crosby, 2. Stills, 3. Nash, 4. And Young.

Do those of my generation remember that? Did you laugh? I did. That’s part of the complication, but then I believe sex is only funny when you’re risking doing it “wrong” — and it is best if it’s funny some of the time. Dead serious and entirely secret? We might as well sign up for Dapper nuwe wêreld industrial reproduction or efficient devices shipped in plain brown wrappers.

That said, now-a-days that 1971 behavior toward Mitchell is now viewed as belittling and a case-study in patriarchal attitudes in the “counter-culture.” Which it was. In the era’s defense I’ll say that the times were groping (should I revise that word?) toward an imperfect but different attitude toward sexual relationships. Just exactly what women would have to say about this wasn’t the first or second thing on the official list of speakers, alas.

It just so happens that Mitchell spoke up anyway, and mixed that with a kind of music which might have seemed just a bit odd or imperfect then, but now is seen as effective, important, and original.

And now it’s time to play Frank’s favorite history game. Folks are thinking about Joni Mitchell and 1971’s Blue here in 2021, but what could we see if we rebound off that 1971 time and look back 50 years from then?

Well, they do tilt their berets the opposite way. Edna St. Vincent Millay and Joni Mitchell

The poetry fans who are still with this post were wondering when I’d get to Edna St. Vincent Millay. In 1921 Millay had broken out as a young poet to watch, partly by that “being on the scene” presence in New York City in the era around and just after WWI, and by famously losing a poetry contest with a poem that many (including the contest’s winner) thought was the best of the lot. That poem was then featured in her debut book-length collection, and now it was time for the “difficult second album.” She planned that second collection to be what was to eventually become her book: Second April, a title that suggested that plan. But she was having trouble with her publisher, and eventually another collection came out ahead of it, just as the 1920’s began to roar: A Few Figs from Thistles.**** It’s a fair analogy: that book was Millay’s Blou. And like Mitchell’s Blue people noticed the author’s public persona not just the poetry. Millay became the exemplar of “The New Woman” of the 1920s, who were sometimes finding patriarchal marriage a doubtful institution, and flaunting disregard for traditional arguments financial and domestic for that. Speaking openly about erotic feelings. Creating their own art rather than settling for standby muse duties.

I’m not sure if even an incomplete list of Millay’s lovers was known to a general poetry reading public 100 years ago, and one can’t quite imagine Poësie magazine naming Millay “The Old Lady of 1921,” but the persona in A Few Figs from Thistles gave us that adventurer in love character that makes Millay and Mitchell echoing artists. But the original edition was a thin volume, chapbook length, and from things I’ve read this week it seems that Millay worried that it wasn’t substantial enough while Second April’s publication faced continued delays. A second version of A Few Figs from Thistles was hurriedly planned and issued, and some of the additions were standout poems in the collection as we now know it, such as the one I use for today’s audio piece: “Recuerdo.” Here’s a link to the full text of that poem if you’d like to follow along.

In her heyday of the 1920s Millay’s Modernist milieu and outlook wasn’t always reflected in her poetic diction. This may have helped her readership who were not yet used to, or appreciative of, free verse or other experiments in expression. Robert Frost or William Butler Yeats would also retain a poetry audience in this time with lovely metrical verse that expressed the modern condition, but Millay was (to my mind) not consistently as facile with metrical verse and more often fell back to fusty 19 th century syntax and language,***** but she could also rise above those limitations. “Recuerdo” is an example of that. It has an effective refrain expressing two contradictory and relatable emotions: “tired” and “merry.” Those emotional words are contained solely within the refrain. The rest of the poem progresses in the Modernist/Imagist style: things and events are described out of order, and in a common Modernist trope in a mixture of tones and importance. How many love poems include a phrase like “smelled like a stable?” Yes, this is largely a love poem — why it even touches on the aubade formula of the pair’s night being interrupted by the dawn — but look again: love (or sexual desire) as a word or even as a direct description is not mentioned once! Yet many readers can sense and feel the limerence of erotic love all through the poem intensely. Daardie is there in this objective and fragmented depiction. Remarkable!

But that absence does allow for some ambiguity. Is there some level of inconsequential going-through-the-motions experience available in a reading of this poem? Or at least some sense of transience in the experience, which after all is framed by the title which means memory in Spanish? I think that’s accessible there too. Suppose I was to present this poem by inventing a frame that imagines it was written by two drug-addled addicts hooking up for one night and to say that that emotion word “merry” in the refrain has some archaic meanings that are congruent with “high.” Same words, different effect in that frame. Or if the same poem was written with a title like “How I Met your Father.”

We do have one clue to Millay’s intent. There is an extant recording of the author reading this poem, and though it’s not very dramatic, it hints at a bit of ironic distance on the events in the poem, a sense of noting the paradoxical koan of memorable inconsequence.

Perhaps I overthink things, but the last stanza with the donation of fruit to the older woman who responds with words of gratitude was rich in ambiguity to me as well. An act of Christian charity, mixed in Modernistically with other random events and sights? Seems likely, but if I’m traipsing around tired and tipsy with my night’s hot flame and somehow, someway we’re carrying two dozen minus two each of apples and pears, their value isn’t exactly gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Is the older woman’s “God bless you” a simple expression of thanks or an implied suggestion that maybe the two younger lovers might want to kick in some spare change, which they consequently provide? Given the push-pull of political radicalism and romance in Millay’s work, can we be sure she doesn’t intend to portray something of the limits of the gesture to the old woman?

How many are thinking then that I’m an unromantic old cynic who has misunderstood and harmed this poem? Is there another group that says I’m not straightforward in my social and political analysis of the situation? Well, my fate is to be doomed to be in both states alternately and sometimes at once. That’s why I like this poem.

One knock against Millay and other New Woman poets of her time once the peak of her fresh fame wore off was that she wrote love poems, not statements about the important, complex issues facing us. Fifty years later, one knock about Joni Mitchell was that she was writing songs about two little people who don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Both of those summary beliefs are incorrect — but then, what is it you are saying: love songs are simple?

Maybe for you. Not for all of us.

The player gadget to hear my performance of Edna St Vincent Millay’s “Recuerdo” will appear below for some of you. No player to be seen? Then this highlighted hyperlink will open a new tab window and play it. My music today isn’t very Joni Mitchell-ish (though later Mitchell, much past Blue, was a bit into synths). The vocal turned out to be a “scratch track” I kept because it seemed usefully spontaneous, even though I omit a few words in the poem’s text inadvertently.

*Dickinson wrote much of her work in the 1860s, and a small group of people knew of some of it though almost nothing was published in her lifetime. I speak here of the Dickinson that existed at the turn of the century after several volumes of her poetry with regularizing edits had been issued. Today she’s taught as one of the great American poets. Back when I was in school she was a charming slight oddity that seemed to fit in with some of the small, short poems the Imagists/Modernists produced in Millay’s time.

**Years ago I wrote a humor piece where I called this 1970’s trend “Singer Sewing-Machine” artists because so much of their ethos had airs of “back to the land/rent a house in Laurel Canyon/sew hippy blouses and embroidered patches on your jeans.”

*** “Old lady” and “Old man” as in “My old lady” were usages borrowed from what were the old-fashioned/outdated terms for wedded partners. Used in the more fluid arrangements by young people in the mid-20 th century counter-culture they were supposed to be ironic statements of: partnership at least for now. Mitchell’s song on Blue “My Old Man” is an encapsulation of that moment.

****Back when I first presented a poem from that collection that so many of you liked this spring,“First Fig,” I was unaware of the origin of that book’s title. I wonder if my father who memorized Millay’s short poem but also studied to become a Christian minister in the Millay era would have known that Millay’s book title is from Jesus’ words in Matthew.

*****Her admirers can parse this as a Modernist use of older “ready-mades” which are being modified in the context of her 20 th century verse.


Edna St. Vincent Millay

In May of 1922 the Cosmos conducted a survey about hairstyles on campus, as the 'bob', women wearing their hair short, had become a recent trend. The reporter was surprised to announce that about nine percent of Coe women (33 out of 364) had cut their hair. Although this seemed to be quite a number, when the campus was surveyed less than two years later, numbers had changed to 288 of 453, or sixty three percent of the Coe women. No one quite knew the explanation for this phenomena, but one theory was the influence of Edna St. Vincent Millay, a 'bob' haired young poet who gave a reading in the Coe chapel January 24 of 1924.

Millay, described in the Cosmos as "one of the youngest and most important poets of this generation," had a unique upbringing. At the age of seven she was raised solely by her mother, who had asked her father to leave. Her mother encouraged Millay - called Vincent by her close friends - to be ambitious and continue to pursue her writing. It was because of her mother's support that Millay entered her poem "Renascence" in a poetry contest, where it placed fourth. When the poem was published in 1912, Millay was just twenty years old and received a scholarship to Vassar, graduating in 1917.

After college Millay moved to Greenwich village, where she continued to write and be involved in theatre. Her poetry and plays were controversial in may aspects, as she was a young woman in the 1920's addressing such issues as love, fidelity, erotic desire, and feminism. Much of her work was a reflection on her life as a bisexual woman, a matter she kept relatively private. In 1922 Millay published a book of poetry entitled A Few Figs From Thistles in which she describes female sexuality and puts forth the revolutionary idea that a woman has every right to sexual pleasure and no obligation to fidelity. It was in this same year that The Harp Weaver and Other Poems, another collection of her poetry, was published ad received a Pulitzer Prize. Millay was just thirty years old.

"The Ballad of the Harp Weaver," a tale of a poor son and his mother, was one of the poems that Millay read while at Coe. It is the story of a young man and his mother who have no possessions other than a harp that no one will buy. One night the boy falls asleep and dreams his mother is playing and the strings are spinning him clothes.

"And the harp-strings spoke
Her voice never faltered,
And the thread never broke,
And when I awoke, --

"There sat my mother
With the harp against her shoulder,
Looking nineteen,
And not a day older,

"A smile about her lips,
And a light about her head,
And her hands in the harp-strings
Frozen dead.

"And piled beside her
And toppling to the skies,
Were the clothes of a king's son,
Just my size."

The Cosmos described her as "charmingly naïve and quaint," and that she managed to captivate the audience "both by her dramatic interpretation and her whimsical mannerisms," thereby leaving her mark on Coe with a quiet and profound strength. And bobbed hair.

About two months after Millay spoke, the Cosmos conducted a survey of women's fashion at Coe which reported that 63 percent of Coeds were 'victim' to the bob cut. In Voorhees Hall, 95 out of 115 residents had 'been bobbed'. Kappa Delta bobbed its way to first place among the sororities of the campus twenty-two of twenty-eight members have shorn their locks. Delta Delta Delta ranks at the foot, or top of the list, according to your viewpoint, with only 15 bobbed haired members and 12 who still wear long hair. Chi Omega has 20 bobbed haired members out of a total of 30, while Alpha Theta approaches the Tri Delt standings with 15 bobbed and 10 long haired members."

The different types of bob included the fantastic Marcel, the sleek "Tut" bob, the shingle and the "Dutch" bob. This wide selection ensured there was a style of bob for everyone. This fad continued to influence women for years to come, as Dorothy Gray wrote in the Freshman Folio of March 1930

To bob or not to bob, that is the question
Whether it would be better to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous Fashion
Or to take shears against a head of troubles
And by cutting end them.

Copyright 2006
Coe College
1220 1st Avenue NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402


Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay (born on 22 February 1892) was an American lyrical poet and playwright and the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry . She was considered one of the most skillful writers of sonnets during the 1900s.
She was also known for her unconventional, bohemian lifestyle and her many love affairs.

“Time does not bring relief”
Time does not bring relief you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain
I want him at the shrinking of the tide
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year’s leaves are smoke in every lane
But last year’s bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go,—so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, “There is no memory of him here!”
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

This fourteen-line sonnet contained in one block of text was first published in “Renascence, and other poems” in 1917.
It is about an emotionally hurt woman, wounded by the loss of her beloved, and seeking relief from despair. But she has discovered that time does not heal pain and feels that people have lied to her when saying it would.
Her longing for her lover is ever-present and if time passes (the snow melts from the mountainside and last year’s leaves were burned ), it doesn’t touch her inner world.

In the second half of the poem, the heartbroken speaker wants to find a place where she can get some relief. This proves to be impossible since the memories of him are everywhere. Even if she goes to places he never visited , she is “stricken” with thoughts of him because she ponders the fact that he never came there.
Her feelings seem to be attached to her own being and not to a physical location.


Media

Beelde

Date: 2018 June 25 Emmanuel Episcopal Church: The church occupies a prominent place at the southeast corner of Cathedral and Read Streets in the Mount Vernon neighborhood.

Date: 2018 July 3 Emmanuel Episcopal Church: A postcard view of the church before the construction of the Chapel of Peace along Cathedral Street in 1920. The new chapel commemorated the end of World War I.

Creator: Universal Postcards, Inc.

Date: c. 1910 Edna St. Vincent Millay: A studio portrait of writer Edna St. Vincent Millay taken a decade after she received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Date: 1933 January 14 Emmanuel Episcopal Church (2009): View of Emmanuel Episcopal Church.


Literary criticism

Newcomb, John Timberman. "The woman as political poet: Edna St. Vincent Millay and the mid-century canon." Says Newcomb, "The unfavorable criticism that has been heaped on Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry in the mid-20th century even after her death shows the influence of critics who belittled social discourse." Criticism 37, 2 (Spring, 1995), pp. 261-279 [free at jstor]

Zellinger, Elissa. "Edna St. Vincent Millay and the Poetess Tradition." Legacy 29, 2 (2012), pp. 240-262 [preview or purchase at jstor]


Kyk die video: Edna St. Vincent Millay reads Recuerdo