Friday, February 16, 2007

Poetry Friday -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

I adore Edna St. Vincent Millay. In my college years, in my Women & Poetry class, the professor was all about the newest! latest! poet, rejoicing in the explicit poetry that showed how women were now truly free to express themselves. Don't get me wrong; there was much that I read that I liked. But then as now, I was the ornery sort, and didn't believe that it was only the newest poets who wrote the truth and wrote from experience.

When we each had to do an author study, I did Millay, to show that no, one did not have to use unprintable four letter words and description to have hot! sexy! poetry. And that poetry from your grandmother's time was just as good as poetry today. At the end of my presentation, the whole class was going "wow" and I (or rather Millay) had won them over.

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why (Sonnet XLIII)

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.

The rest of the poem is here at

Fun Millay facts include:
her husband Eugene Jan Boissevain had been married to Inez Milholland.
she was friends with John Reed (and I cannot believe how many people have not watched Reds, what's with that?)
Millay's house aka the narrowest house in NYC aka I'd love to live there
Previous Millay posts by me

Kelly has the round up at Big A little a


Mary Lee said...

Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I'm of an age that I went and saw a showing of this movie before it opened! (Hopefully that says more about my taste in movies than my age...)

Nancy said...

I love the poem. Also, thanks for pointing out her house -- I've been by that building I'm sure, but I never read the plaque.

MarPerez said...

Oh, my favorite Edna poem is Prayer to Persephone. In fact, I wrote a manuscript (unpubbed) inspired by this poem.

And I loved the biography SAVAGE BEAUTY. I listened to it on tape and was fascinated by Edna even more.