Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay: An Annotated Edition
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In this authoritative volume, Timothy F. Jackson has compiled and annotated a new selection that represents the full range of her published work alongside previously unpublished manuscript excerpts, poems, prose, and correspondence. The poems, appearing as they were printed in their first editions, are complemented by Jackson’s extensive, illuminating notes, which draw on archival sources and help situate her work in its historical and literary context. Two introductory essays—one by Jackson and the other by Millay’s literary executor, Holly Peppe—also help critically frame the poet’s work.
This deluxe edition will be cherished by readers who continue to study and enjoy the work of this iconic figure.
scalding the snow. How strange a thing is death, bringing to his knees, bringing to his antlers The buck in the snow. How strange a thing,—a mile away by now, it may be, Under the heavy hemlocks that as the moments pass Shift their loads a little, letting fall a feather of snow— Life, looking out attentive from the eyes of the doe. Evening on Lesbos Twice having seen your shingled heads adorable Side by side, the onyx and the gold, I know that I have had what I could not hold. Twice
Hung like a curtain,—did not fall, As water does, but hung, compact, Crystal, on many a metal wall. Tall nymphs with Titan breasts and knees Gazed at their images unblurred, Where groves of colonnades, not trees, Fringed a deep pool where nothing stirred. Blue sheets of water, left and right, Spread between quays of rose and green, To the world’s end and out of sight, And still expanded, though unseen. Enchanted rivers, those—with jade And jasper were their banks bedecked; Enormous
not a thought be left. Exhort the closing eye, Urge the resisting ear, To say, “The thrush is here”; To say, “His song is clear”; To live, before it die. Small hands, relinquish all: Nothing the fist can hold, Not power, not love, not gold, But suffers from the cold, And is about to fall. The mind, at length bereft Of thinking and its pain, Will soon disperse again, And nothing will remain: No, not a thing be left. Only the ardent eye, Only the listening ear Can say, “The thrush
reading her poems. For women, she made complicated passion real; for men, she made it alluring. The triumphal chariot rolled on, though the road was getting rockier. Reviews of her work were growing more mixed. Her critics resented her popularity, but in truth her work—except for flashes of lightning— was dimming. Fate itself seemed to be greasing the slippery slope. While vacationing with her husband in Florida to finish a new book, Conversation at Midnight, their hotel burned down, her
Hyacinth To One Who Might Have Borne a Message “Love is not blind. I see with single eye” “Pity me not because the light of day” “Here is a wound that never will heal, I know” “Your face is like a chamber where a king” “I, being born a woman and distressed” “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” “How healthily their feet upon the floor” “Euclid alone has looked on Beauty bare” Sonnets from an Ungrafted Tree from The Buck in the Snow (1928) To the Wife of a Sick Friend To