I first encountered Edna St. Vincent Millay in an old high school literature textbook. Parked like a shiny convertible amongst the hearses of early twentieth century American literature, she called to me. Now granted “Renascence” wasn’t a horn-honking kind of poem, and it was certainly death-haunted, but it was written by a woman, one of only twenty at that, and it sang of possibilities.
High school textbooks, of course, would not publish some of Millay’s best works that came later, poems about sexuality, love, and longing, that were certainly ground-breaking topics for a female writer in the early twentieth century. She lived life on her own terms, had many affairs, was openly bi-sexual, went to jail for supporting Sacco and Vanzetti, and traveled extensively.
Today, February 22, in 1892, Millay was born. Her friends called her “Vincent.”