World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Article Id: WHEBN0000009824
Reproduction Date:

Title: Edna St. Vincent Millay  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Pierrot, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Sonnet, 75½ Bedford St, Andrew Calhoun
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Edna St. Vincent Millay
Edna St. Vincent Millay,
photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1933
Born (1892-02-22)February 22, 1892
Rockland, Maine
Died October 19, 1950(1950-10-19) (aged 58)
Austerlitz, New York
Pen name Nancy Boyd
Occupation Poet
Nationality American

Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 – October 19, 1950) was an American lyrical poet and playwright.[1] She received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, the third woman to win the award for poetry,[2] and was also known for her feminist activism and her many love affairs. She used the pseudonym Nancy Boyd for her prose work. The poet Richard Wilbur asserted, "She wrote some of the best sonnets of the century."[3]

Early life

Millay was born in Rockland, Maine, to Cora Lounella Buzelle, a nurse, and Henry Tollman Millay, a schoolteacher who would later become a superintendent of schools. Her middle name derives from St. Vincent's Hospital in New York, where her uncle's life had been saved just before her birth. The family's house was "between the mountains and the sea where baskets of apples and drying herbs on the porch mingled their scents with those of the neighboring pine woods."[4] In 1904, Cora officially divorced Millay's father for financial irresponsibility, but they had already been separated for some years. Cora and her three daughters, Edna (who called herself "Vincent"), Norma Lounella (born 1893), and Kathleen Kalloch (born 1896), moved from town to town, living in poverty. Cora travelled with a trunk full of classic literature, including Shakespeare and Milton, which she read to her children. The family settled in a small house on the property of Cora's aunt in Camden, Maine, where Millay would write the first of the poems that would bring her literary fame.

The three sisters were independent and spoke their minds, which did not always sit well with the authority figures in their lives. Millay's grade school principal, offended by her frank attitudes, refused to call her Vincent. Instead, he called her by any woman's name that sta Genus: Heinzia
in | first = Daniel Mark | year = 2001 | title = What Lips My Lips Have Kissed: The Loves and Love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay | location = New York | publisher = Henry Holt | isbn = 0-8050-6727-2 }} At Camden High School, Millay began developing her literary talents, starting at the school's literary magazine, The Megunticook. At 14 she won the St. Nicholas Gold Badge for poetry, and by 15, she had published her poetry in the popular children's magazine St. Nicholas, the Camden Herald, and the high-profile anthology Current Literature. While at school, she had several relationships with women, including Edith Wynne Matthison, who would go on to become an actress in silent films.[5]

Edna St. Vincent Millay in Mamaroneck,[6] NY, 1914, by Arnold Genthe.

Millay entered Vassar College in 1913 when she was 21 years old, later than usual. She had relationships with several fellow students during her time there.[7]

New York City

Edna St. Vincent Millay home 1923–24 at 75½ Bedford St Greenwich Village

After her graduation from Vassar in 1917, Millay moved to New York City. She lived in a number of places in Greenwich Village, including a house owned by the Cherry Lane Theatre[8] and 75½ Bedford St, renowned for being the smallest in New York City.[9] The critic Floyd Dell wrote that the red-haired and beautiful Millay was "a frivolous young woman, with a brand-new pair of dancing slippers and a mouth like a valentine."[4] Millay described her life in New York as "very, very poor and very, very merry." While establishing her career as a poet, Millay initially worked with the Provincetown Players on Macdougal Street and the Theatre Guild. In 1924 Millay and others founded the Cherry Lane Theater "to continue the staging of experimental drama."[10] Magazine articles under a pseudonym also helped support her early days in the village.[11]

Millay was openly bisexual. Counted among her close friends were the writers Witter Bynner, Arthur Davison Ficke, and Susan Glaspell, as well as Floyd Dell and the critic Edmund Wilson, both of whom proposed marriage to her and were refused.[5][12]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.