Edna St. Vincent Millay: Selected Poems

Edna St. Vincent Millay: Selected Poems

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Overview

Praised by poets and critics ranging from A. E. Housman and Thomas Hardy to Edmund Wilson, Edna St. Vincent Millay's bold, exquisite poems take their place among the enduring verse of the twentieth century. Claiming a lyric tradition stretching back to Sappho and Catullus and making it very much her own, Millay won over her contemporaries—and readers ever since—with her passion, erotic candor, formal elegance, and often mischievous wit. J. D. McClatchy's introduction and selections offer new and surprising insights into Millay's achievement. Included are her most beloved and justly admired poems, such as the wry bohemian anthem "Recuerdo" and the sonnet sequence Fatal Interview, the poetic record of a love affair that is presented in its entirety. McClatchy has also chosen works that extend our sense of Millay's range: translations, her play Aria da Capo, and excerpts from her libretto The King's Henchman. "I have for the most part been guided by my taste for Millay at her tautest and truest," writes McClatchy. "There are precise and resonant images everywhere."

About the American Poets Project
Elegantly designed in compact editions, printed on acid-free paper, and textually authoritative, the American Poets Project makes available the full range of the American poetic accomplishment, selected and introduced by today’s most discerning poets and critics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781931082358
Publisher: Library of America
Publication date: 07/28/2002
Series: American Poets Project Series , #1
Pages: 231
Sales rank: 1,232,085
Product dimensions: 4.68(w) x 7.78(h) x 0.79(d)

About the Author

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in 1892 in Rockland, Maine, and grew up in the seaside town of Camden. In 1923 Millay received the second annual Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Millay published five more collections of poetry; a prose collection under her pen name, Nancy Boyd; a translation; two verse dramas; and several plays. She died in 1950.

J. D. McClatchy (1945–2018) was the author of many books of poetry and essays, including Plundered Hearts: New and Selected Poems (2014), and the editor of nine Library of America publications. He wrote the libretto for Ned Rorem’s operatic version of Our Town, taught at Yale University, and served as editor of The Yale Review. 

Table of Contents

Introductionxvii
I
from Renascence and Other Poems (1917)
Renascence3
Interim10
Afternoon on a Hill18
Witch-Wife18
When the Year Grows Old19
"Time does not bring relief; you all have lied"20
"If I should learn, in some quite casual way"21
Bluebeard22
from A Few Figs from Thistles (1920)
First Fig23
Second Fig23
Recuerdo23
To the Not Impossible Him24
Grown-up25
Daphne25
Midnight Oil25
The Philosopher26
"I think I should have loved you presently"26
"I shall forget you presently, my dear"27
from Second April (1921)
Eel-Grass28
Elegy Before Death28
Weeds29
Passer Mortuus Est30
Alms30
Inland31
Ebb32
from Memorial to D. C.
I.Epitaph33
IV.Dirge33
V.Elegy34
"Only until this cigarette is ended"35
"Once more into my arid days like dew"36
"When I too long have looked upon your face"36
"And you as well must die, beloved dust"37
"As to some lovely temple, tenantless"38
Wild Swans38
from The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems (1923)
Autumn Chant39
Feast40
The Betrothal40
The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver41
Never May the Fruit Be Plucked46
Hyacinth47
To One Who Might Have Borne a Message47
"Love is not blind. I see with single eye"48
"Pity me not because the light of day"48
"Here is a wound that never will heal, I know"49
"Your face is like a chamber where a king"50
"I, being born a woman and distressed"50
"What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why"51
"How healthily their feet upon the floor"51
"Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare"52
Sonnets from an Ungrafted Tree53
from The Buck in the Snow (1928)
To the Wife of a Sick Friend63
To a Friend Estranged from Me64
The Buck in the Snow65
Evening on Lesbos65
Dirge Without Music66
Lethe67
To Inez Milholland68
To Jesus on His Birthday68
"Not that it matters, not that my heart's cry"69
II
Aria da Capo (1921)73
from The King's Henchman (1927)
AElfrida's Song97
Love Scene99
Translations from Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire (1936)
The Fang105
Parisian Dream106
Invitation to the Voyage108
The Old Servant110
Late January111
The King of the Rainy Country111
Mists and Rains112
A Memory113
III
Fatal Interview (1931)117
IV
from Wine from These Grapes (1934)
Valentine147
In the Grave No Flower147
Childhood Is the Kingdom Where Nobody Dies148
The Solid Sprite Who Stands Alone150
Spring in the Garden151
Sonnet ("Time, that renews the tissues of this frame")152
Desolation Dreamed Of152
On the Wide Heath153
Two Sonnets in Memory154
Conscientious Objector155
Epitaph for the Race of Man156
from Conversation at Midnight (1937)
"Thus are our altars polluted; nor may we flee..."166
"The mind thrust out of doors"172
from Huntsman, What Quarry? (1939)
The Snow Storm174
Not So Far as the Forest174
"Fontaine, Je Ne Boirai Pas De Ton Eau!"177
The True Encounter178
Czecho-Slovakia178
Underground System179
Two Voices180
This Dusky Faith181
To a Young Poet182
To Elinor Wylie182
"Now that the west is washed of clouds and clear"186
"I too beneath your moon, almighty Sex"187
"Thou famished grave, I will not fill thee yet"187
"Not only love plus awful grief"188
from Make Bright the Arrows (1940)
"Make bright the arrows"189
An Eclipse of the Sun Is Predicted189
"Gentlemen Cry, Peace!"190
"I must not die of pity; I must live"191
from The Murder of Lidice (1942)
"They marched them out to the public square"192
from Mine the Harvest (1954)
Small Hands, Relinquish All195
Ragged Island196
"To whom the house of Montagu"197
"The courage that my mother had"199
Armenonville199
Dream of Saba200
For Warmth Alone, for Shelter Only204
"Black hair you'd say she had, or rather"204
Steepletop206
"Look how the bittersweet with lazy muscle moves aside"207
"Those hours when happy hours were my estate"209
"Not to me, less lavish--though my dreams have been splendid"209
"Tranquility at length, when autumn comes"210
Sonnet in Dialectic210
"It is the fashion now to wave aside"211
"Admetus, from my marrow's core I do"212
"I will put Chaos into fourteen lines"212
"And must I then, indeed, Pain, live with you"213
"Felicity of Grief!--even Death being kind"213
"If I die solvent--die, that is to say"214
Biographical Note217
Note on the Texts218
Notes220
Index of Titles and First Lines223

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