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Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950), winner in 1923 of the second annual Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, was a daring, versatile writer whose work includes plays, essays, short stories, songs, and the libretto to an opera that premiered at New York's Metropolitan Opera House to rave reviews. Millay infused new life into traditional poetic forms, bringing new hope to a generation of youth disillusioned by the political and social upheaval of the First World War. She ventured fearlessly beyond familiar poetic subjects to tackle political injustice, social discrimination, and women's sexuality in her poems and prose. In the 1920s and '30s, Millay was considered a spokesperson for personal freedom in America, particularly for women, and we turn to her lines to illuminate the social history of the period and the Bohemian lifestyle she and her friends enjoyed. Yet Millay's poetry is still decisively modern in its message, and it continues to resonate with readers facing personal and moral issues that defy the test of time: romantic love, loss, betrayal, compassion for one another, social equality, patriotism, and the stewardship of the natural world. Collected Poems features Millay's incisive and impassioned lyric poetry and sonnets, many of which are considered among the finest in the language, as well as the poet's last volume, Mine the Harvest, compiled and published in 1956 by her sister Norma Millay.
"These are the poems that made Edna St. Vincent Millay's reputation when she was young. Saucy, insolent, flip, and defiant, her little verses sting the page," writes Nancy Milford in the Introduction to The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. As one of America's most beloved poets-and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1923-Millay defined a generation with her intoxicating voice of liberation. Most remembered for her passionate, lyrical voice and mastery of the sonnet form, Millay explores love, death, and nature in her poetry while deftly employing allusions to the classical and the romantic. In 1917, at the age of twenty, she burst onto the New York literary scene with the publication of her first book of poetry, Renascence and Other Poems, which is included in this volume.Edited by Millay biographer Nancy Milford, The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay also includes the collections A Few Figs from Thistles and Second April, as well as "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver" and eight of Millay's sonnets from the early twenties.
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