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A Few Figs from Thistles Paperback – January 29, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950, was an American lyrical poet and playwright. She is the author of Renascence and Other Poems. She is known by the pseudonym Nancy Boyd. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: HardPress Publishing (January 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1407625764
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407625768
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,699,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
"My candle bums at both ends/It will not last the night/But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--/It gives a lovely light!"

That famous poem is a suitable opening to the whimsical, quirky volume of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry, "A Few Figs From Thistles." These poems capture Millay at her most charming, full of lyrical poetry and enchanting imagery, though she also dips into darker, more fey territory.

After Millay's ode to her candle, she begins exploring the beauties of nighttime wanderings and eating fruit, disliking Thursdays, love ballads, beautiful roads, mythic beauties like Daphne, and the woes of being a poet ("Still must the poet as of old,/In barren attic bleak and cold,/Starve, freeze, and fashion verses to/Such things as flowers and song and you...").

The book ends with four superb little sonnets, which show that the basic lyrical poem is not the only kind that Millay could do well. The poems seem to explore different stages of love: the first is passionate and adoring, the second is loving but more aware of both lovers' flaws, and the third fiercely announces that she isn't in love and "were you not lovely I would leave you now."

The last one dismisses the ex-lover completely, with "I shall forget you presently, my dear,/So make the most of this, your little day,/Your little month, your little half a year,/Ere I forget, or die, or move away." Ouch.

Edna St. Vincent Millay is perhaps at her most relaxed in "A Few Figs From Thistles," which is less self-conscious about her flowery language. Many of the songs are reminiscent of old ballads ("MacDougal Street") or mischievous nursery rhymes ("What should I be but a prophet and a liar/Whose mother was a leprechaun, whose father was a friar?").
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have loved the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay for many years. While all the words are there, the e-book version of this book leaves a lot to be desired. The lines in each stanza are linked together into paragraphs; the line breaks of the original have been completely eliminated. It makes for a difficult and disorienting read. While the price (free) is unbeatable, spend a little more and get a properly formatted version.
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Format: Hardcover
I basically want to emphasize how good this little book of poems is. I didn't study it. I didn't analyze it. I simply enjoyed every page.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a short and sweet poetry book. Since I am a fan of Edna St Vincent Millay, I was happy to find this book in Kindle. I really loved reading every poem in it. This is an enjoyable book.
The poems were great, the formatting not the best. But all in all, this book is worth the read.
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I first discovered Millay as a teenager and was enthralled by the diversity of her poetry: everything from lyric ballads and sonnets to political poems.

Read Millay for her humor and wit that her poems often- albeit sometimes very subtly- evince. After all, this is the young lady who was a real hell-raiser at Vassar. Upon being threatened with expulsion after one escapade and demonstrating supreme indifference to that penalty, the Dean of Students -apparently a very wise woman- told the young Millay that she would not expel her after all, "not wanting another Shelley on my conscience." Millay, we are told, was so flattered by this comparison with one of her poetical heroes that she answered: "Well, under those conditions, I guess I can stand it in this hell-hole for another few years." You've got to love her spunk, right?

Read Millay for her social conscience. I don't think anyone can fail to be moved by her poems composed in honor of the martyrs of Lidice, for example: the little Czech village that was so brutally destroyed by the Nazis in reprisal for Heydrich's assassination by resistance fighters. Or be roused to indignation by the poems in honor of the treatment of Sacco and Vanzetti.

Read Millay above all, however, for the beauty of her lyrical gift. From the insouciance and youthful cheek of "My candle burns at both ends...." to the mature heartbreak of the sonnets in the "Fatal Interview" cycle Millay remains one of the greatest lyrical poets of the 20th century. She deserved the Pulitzer Prize when it was awarded to her nearly 100 years ago and she still deserves it today. Her poetry stands the test of time in spite of the views of some supercilious nay-sayers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a delightful collection of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry. It begins with her most famous "My candle burns at both end" verses (First Fig) and ends with some exquisite sonnets. It's a must as an introduction to one of America's foremost women of literature, or the continuing study thereof. It's short, sweet, approachable memorable, and a good looking book as well. And you can't beat the price. It is amazing to me that such a treasure can be had for free. Enjoy.
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It's a little hard to complain about a book you received for free, but .... an interactive table of contents would have been nice, even though the book itself is short. I have been a fan of Edna St Vincent Millay for many years, just how many years I am a little reluctant to admit, but I am happy to say she was not a contemporary of mine. It would be nice to see a complete collection of her works in the near future, at a reasonable price. I hope Delphi reads this review.
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