Edna St. Vincent Millay, an American Poet, was born in Rockland, Maine on February 22, 1892. Growing up in a single- parent home, she was raised by her mother, Cora L. Buzzelle Millay. Edna St. Vincent Millay’s younger sister Kathleen was also a writer. At a young age Edna Millay’s mother realized her gift of writing and nurtured it through providing encouragement and exposing Millay to various types of reading material. Millay greatly appreciated her mother, “’I cannot remember once in the life when you were not interested in what I was working on, or even suggested that I should put it aside for something else’” (“Edna” 1). Millay grew up in Camden, Maine with her sisters until she moved away to attend college at Vasser College. Millay’s writing made it possible for her to attended college, especially her poem “Renascence” which was her first acclaim.
Millay published several works before she attended college. Her early writings are considered some of her greatest pieces of poetry (Harmon 552). Her early poems were published in St. Nicholas, a children’s magazine. Her first big piece was “Renascence” in 1912 when she was nineteen. To help pay for her schooling Millay began to write prose under the pseudonym Nancy Boyd. Her writings as Nancy Boyd were primarily short stories. She also wrote a libretto for The King’s Henchman by Deems Taylor. Millay’s verse plays include Two Slatterns and a King, The Lamp and the Bell, and Aria da Capo. Millay became known too for her sonnets, making her a well-rounded writer.
After Millay’s marriage to Eugen Jan Boissevain, he became her personal secretary and body guard (Kunitz 957). During this time she wrote some of her more famous poetry and traveled. Her first book of poetry, Renascence and Other Poems, sprung from her first acclaim, “Renascence.” She wrote and published the The Harp Weaver and Other Poems, which was a devotion to her mother (“Millay” 132). Other books of poetry written by Millay are The Buck in the Snow and Other Poems and Wine from These Grapes.
Millay’s poetry is written in a sophisticated and witty way which matched her personality. Millay despite growing up in a very poor family has always loved to dress very prim and proper especially in formal clothes for dines in state (Kunitz 957). Her poetry also covers to broad themes. The first is romantic theme seen in the first half of her writings; the second is a more historical theme which is seen in her writings written during and around the World Wars. Examples of the historical theme are The Murder of Lidice, which tells of the destruction of Czechoslovak town during World War II, and Conversation at...