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The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay (Modern Library) Hardcover – September 4, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Edna St. Vincent Millay seems to me one of the only poets writing in English in our time who have attained anything like the status of great literary figures."--Edmund Wilson

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"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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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; 2001 Modern Library ed edition (September 4, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679642374
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679642374
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #785,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Brady on February 18, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Edna St. Vincent Millay is (in my opinion) one of the great 20th century poets, generally under-appreciated. Readers who buy this edition SHOULD BE WARNED that it's not a selection from her whole life's work, but only from her early poetry, which made her reputation but isn't necessarily her best. If you want a more comprehensive view of her work, including the later, more mature work, I think you'll have to get the Collected Poems and make your own 'selection'.
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This book is a good introduction to the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay presenting many of her most memorable poems. It is not a comprehensive presentation of her writing (for example, some of her more erotic poems are not present) but it is not meant to be. The introduction is good and provides the highlights of her life and career. I would like to have had a chronology of her life and a list of her complete works in this book. Overall, this volume satisfied my curiosity but I would want a good biography to accompany this book in order to know more about St. Vincent Millay.
I must also comment on the book itself. My copy has many pages that were cut at an angle with the result that when they were bound the text becomes the margin! The end papers were also effected so the design is set on a slight angle, the edge of which comes close to being cut off. It was unsettling for me to find this book in this condition. I did not return it because I did not care to go to the expense (considering the price of the book) of packaging the book to send back.
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I'm in love with Edna Millay, and have many (duplicate) collections of her poems. This and Collected Lyrics are my favorites. These two collections (the poems in Lyrics were chosen by her) are both small enough to carry around (like to a coffee shop on your lunch hour), and contain just the best of the best. There are of course poems I can't understand or don't like in both books. Also this one gives a good overview of Millay - how she wrote, what she liked to write about, her feelings about various things.

And not to be sniffed at - this collection was put out by Random House. Random House once was to good books what Sony was to CD players.
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Her shorter pieces are much better than her longer ones. Many of the sonnets are quite good. She may be unlucky or unhappy in love, but she is wry about it and not the least bit maudlin or self-indulgent.

The poems about the unbearable beauties of nature strike me as overwrought and do not work at all.

Her shortest bits sting the page. As an example, this two lines, the "Second Fig" from her collection A Few Figs From Thistles, describes quite neatly those whose ability to see facts are limited by their wishing them not so. She writes:

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!
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This too, was a present to my daughter from me, she just started high school, and I read all the books I gave to her, all the ones that helped me shape into a loving person that I am today, thank you Edna.
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Her poetry does dwell a lot on the afterlife, but nevertheless some of the short poems are precious as an everyday woman would think about love. The words just flow out of her intellect. and so easy to read and ramble on.
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The most beautiful poems written by a beautiful poet. I have often quoted her to a friend so that they would be able to judge and buy her books. I have a huge selection of her poetry and have even bought her spoken word on record. She ranks among the highest in poetry.She led a tragic life and I think that this helped her to compose the most touching poetry about life and love. Highly recommended!
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Includes all the best of Edna's poetry, with an excellent introduction outlining the story of her inspired career. And then her poetry itself: Cutting brilliance. Sharp truths. Biting compassion. Bitter pains of love. Magnificent!
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