Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Bio

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in 1892 in Rockland, Maine, and grew up in the seaside town of Camden. She published her first poems as a teenager and, at twenty, her long poem “Renascence” appeared in the anthology The Lyric Year. At Vassar, she developed her talents and reputation as a dramatist and actor. After graduating in 1917, Millay moved to Greenwich Village in New York City where she gave poetry readings and became known for her freedom of thought and feminist views. She acted and wrote for the Provincetown Players theater group and in 1919 directed a production of her play Aria da Capo. Her poetry was published in several magazines, including Vanity Fair, Poetry, and Forum. Her first book, Renascence and Other Poems (1917), was followed in 1920 by A Few Figs from Thistles (an expanded edition appeared in 1922) and in 1921 by Second April.

In 1923, upon her return from two years of writing and traveling in Europe, Millay received the second annual Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and published a new collection, The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems. That same year she married Eugen Boissevain, and in 1925 they moved to a farm in upstate New York. Millay published five more collections of poetry: The Buck in the Snow (1928), Fatal Interview (1931), Wine from These Grapes (1934), Huntsman, What Quarry? (1939), Make Bright the Arrows (1940); a prose collection under her pen name, Nancy Boyd, titled Distressing Dialogues (1924; its foreword carried Millay’s byline); a translation, with George Dillon, of Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil (1936); the verse dramas Conversation at Midnight (1937) and The Murder of Lidice (1942); and several plays. Her final book was the posthumously published Mine the Harvest (1954), edited by her younger sister Norma. Edna St. Vincent Millay died in 1950.