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Collected Sonnets

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4.4  ·  Rating Details ·  760 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
More than 180 sonnets selected from Millay's books of poems -- including 20 sonnets from Mine the Harvest not contained in previous editions of her Collected Sonnets -- are brought together in this new, expanded edition. An introduction by Norma Millay, written expressly for this volume, focuses on examples of the poet's variations in sonnet structure. Here is the voice of ...more
Paperback, 187 pages
Published April 13th 1988 by Harper Perennial (first published 1917)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jenna
If you like Edna St. Vincent Millay, you're fine by me.

Now, I don't dispute the critics who say that Millay was a limited poet; I don't entirely disagree with those who say that Millay's "Look at what a bad girl I am! Look, look: I'm naughty, I love sex and I love talking about sex (as well as nature and, occasionally, world affairs), and I don't care what people say about me!" posturing has a limiting effect on her poetry, such that many of her poems end up saying virtually the same thing as on
...more
sdw
Aug 25, 2008 sdw rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
There is nothing I love more than the sonnets of Edna St. Vincent Millay.

"Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide,
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, - so with his memory they brim.
And
...more
Anna Marie
Jul 15, 2011 Anna Marie rated it it was amazing
I’ve had some dark days here and there in my life, more there than here anymore and some admittedly of my own making. Days where I allowed such hopelessness and grief to deaden my interest in everything around me. No book or tv program or even the most gorgeous day outside could hold my thoughts for more than a moment. Strangely what did hold my interest would be these sonnets. I’d read them aloud to myself. I’d highlight my favorite lines. I’d announce to the nobody that was listening, “Time do ...more
Bennet
May 10, 2011 Bennet rated it it was amazing

I consider her sonnets world-class, right up there with Shakespeare and Browning, and I favor Millay's.

Mindful of you the sodden earth in spring,
And all the flowers that in the springtime grow;
And dusty roads, and thistles, and the slow
Rising of the round moon; all throats that sing
The summer through, and each departing wing,
And all the nests that the bared branches show;
And all winds that in any weather blow,
And all the storms that the four seasons bring;
You go no more on your exultant feet
Up p
...more
Jinni Pike
Nov 10, 2014 Jinni Pike rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2014
Millay's sonnets are witty, simple, elaborate, clever, morbid, gorgeous, grandiose, detailed...I could go on and on.

She will make you smirk with lines like "I drink - and live - what has destroyed some men."

She'll make you ache with:
"Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide."

You'll sigh with:
"Between the awful spears of birth and death
I run a grassy gauntlet in the sun;
A
...more
Robin Reul
Aug 23, 2015 Robin Reul rated it it was amazing
I'm not usually one who is drawn in by poetry, but something about Edna St. Vincent Millay's sonnets just cuts straight through to my soul. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy reading these, but it inspired me to want to learn more about this fascinating woman's life.
Lucy
May 15, 2007 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
c
When we that wore the myrtle wear the dust,
And years of darkness cover up our eyes,
And all our arrogant laughter and sweet lust
Keep counsel with the scruples of the wise;
When boys and girls that now are in the loins
Of croaking lads, dip oar into the sea,--
And who are these that dive for copper coins?
No longer we, my love, no longer we--
Then let the fortunate breathers of the air,
When we lie speechless in the muffling mould,
Tease not our ghosts with slander, pause not there
To say that love is fa
...more
Ann
Feb 07, 2013 Ann rated it it was amazing
I remember one of Virginia Woolf's essays where she stated that Christina Rossetti's beautiful lyric poem "Birthday" seemed absurd and inadequate in the modern world. Millay also came under criticism and virtually lost her great reputation when modernists like T.S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens came along.

Do the poems in this volume stand the test of time? They sure do. Intimate poems of often unrequited love and loss, Millay created sonnets (many of them in the Pertrarchan octave-abba) that are as
...more
K8
Mar 19, 2015 K8 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K8 by: Skye Shirley
First read: 4/17/2013

Favorite Sonnets:
Time does not bring relief
Bluebeard
Love, though for this you riddle me with darts
Once more into my arid days like dew
When I too long have looked upon your face
Let you not say of me when I am old
Oh, my beloved, have you thought of this:
As to some lovely temple, tenantless
When you, that at this moment are to me
Love is not blind. I see with single eye
I know I am but summer to your heart
Pity me not because the light of day
Oh, oh, you will be worry for that word!
...more
Stephanie
Feb 21, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
These sonnets grow more beautiful with each reading...this is a book I was revisiting and will do so again. So many have to do with loss of a love, whether through that love fading, being transferred to another, or by the death of the lover. They can be tragic or haunting or just a little sad, or even blasé depending on Millay's approach.

I think that's what I love most about these poems. It is not just Millay's choice of words and rhythm and structure that is perfect; it is also the fact that h
...more
Judy
Apr 20, 2015 Judy rated it it was amazing
My Favorite.. While enjoying nature high n a hill at my home ~~ in Minnesota above the Minnesota River,gardening and picking flowers ~~ a little neighbor girl came up to me and recited this poem and said "Miss Judy, this is you" Will never forget her.. Portrait By A Neighbor - Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay ~~
Portrait By A Neighbour - Before she has her floor swept Or her dishes done, Any day you'll find her A-sunning in the sun! It's long after midnight Her key's in the lock, And you never se
...more
Ashley
Jan 24, 2009 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
It is true that Shakespeare and his contemporaries revolutionized the sonnet, created an endlessly versatile new variant for the English language, and that Shakespeare himself set a standard against which sonnets have been held for centuries. But Millay made the sonnet her own as well. She brought it into the twentieth century, proved that the use of modern language did not damage its beauty but honed it, and demonstrated that in skilled hands it can be the perfect vehicle for both emotion and t ...more
Andrew
Feb 25, 2013 Andrew rated it really liked it
There was a time when she was my favorite poet. Maybe she still is. Maybe I'm just not good at digesting so much poetry at once. There were still moments of brilliance. But her themes are basically just love and nature, and it got old quick. Occasionally she threw in classical themes, the Greek myths especially and that made me happy. And I'll leave you with my favorite lines that she's ever wrote, from the sonnet "I shall go back again to the bleak shore"

The love that stood a moment in your eye
...more
Katrina
Sep 01, 2011 Katrina rated it it was amazing
when i too long have looked upon your face,
wherein for me a brightness unobscured,
save by the mists of brightness has its place,
and terrible beauty not to be endured,
i turn away reluctant from your light
and stand irresolute, a mind undone,
a silly, dazzled thing deprived of sight
from having looked too long upon the sun.
then is my daily life a narrow room
in which a little while, uncertainly,
surrounded by impenetrable gloom,
among familiar things grown strange to me
making my way, i pause, and f
...more
melanie
Aug 18, 2015 melanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I always enjoy Millay but it has been a long time since I've read any poetry. Lots of favourites in here but also some that were just okay and some where the imagery was a little too much for me since I'm not currently in the throws of studying Greek mythology. Always good to revisit this collection.
Madbutmagic
Jul 17, 2013 Madbutmagic rated it it was amazing
Mad But Magic YA Blog

from Sonnet II:
Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide
James
Dec 03, 2007 James rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
These are great sonnets, full of loneliness and desire, and love. Or the loss of love? The want for love? Many of these sonnets are written in larger sequences, and while many of the individual poems are excellent, and it is the structure of the sequences that leave me taken with Millay. These may be my favorite American sonnets, alongside Berryman's.
Reanna
May 20, 2013 Reanna rated it it was amazing

She's my favorite poet and these sonnets about love, longing, loss and grief resonate across time...
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be introduced to a magnificent talent. This is a fabulous collection of some of her best sonnets.
Rainey
Sep 07, 2016 Rainey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 52-in-2011
These are spectacular. what an offbeat approach to the sonnet! honest, bold, and eloquent.
"i call you friend...but well enough we know how thick about us root...those subtle weeds no man has need to tend...[that] soon must send Perfume too sweet upon us and overthrow Our steady senses."
Wealhtheow
Jun 28, 2007 Wealhtheow rated it it was amazing
I fell desperately in love with Millay after reading "First Fig" in my history textbook. Some years later, I chose my college partly based upon the fact that she had gone there. Funny, irreverant, passionate and smart, Millay's work has incredible rhythm, rhyme, and impact.
Courtney Clark
Sep 15, 2015 Courtney Clark rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Three stars. Not because this isn't amazing, but because I have a hard time appreciating sonnets. I don't know why, there's something wrong with me that makes me completely unappreciative of the form itself :/
treva
Jul 15, 2008 treva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love her! Sometimes sassy and coy, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes earnest, tender and loving. Fully one of the greatest writers we have known and a true master of the sonnet form (which is really hard to write in, actually!).
Karen L.
Apr 13, 2008 Karen L. rated it liked it
Recommends it for: real poetry enthusiasts
Shelves: poetry
I like her love sonnet, "Not in a silver casket cool with pearls..." She has a beautiful poets voice, is definitely a master of the sonnet and is is a real word smith, however, her poems are not written in such a way that most people can relate to them. They can be a bit esoteric.
Julie
Mar 11, 2013 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
She had kept that kettle boiling all night long, for company.

How can your heart not break, with that image in your mind?
Leigh
Jun 26, 2012 Leigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is on my short list of volumes of poetry that can be read straight through as if it were a novel. Deeply loved.
AB
Jun 15, 2009 AB rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poems, own, author-f
So, so, so, so beautiful. For every one that lost me a little, there were at least two that pulled me back in. Need to buy a copy of this to keep for reference; I have too many favourites.
Karen
May 22, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read
14 Classic College Books You’ll Want to Read Again as a Real Adult

Life lesson: It's not about the form, it's about what you do inside the form.
Chris
Jan 18, 2008 Chris marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I hate when I can't find the right cover image. It's a way bigger deal to me than it should be, especially when it's a cover like the Tree of Life cover on this cheapo hardback I got my hands on.
Dustin
Jun 07, 2016 Dustin rated it it was amazing
My first venture with ESVM, and I'm floored. So good. No wonder she got started early and was published as a child / young teen in "St. Nicholas" magazine.
Nurshafiqa
Jul 07, 2012 Nurshafiqa rated it liked it
beautifully written but i did not manage to finish reading all the sonnets in this book because i am such a loser when it comes to managing time for reading!!
we'll meet again next time, edna
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Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American lyrical poet and playwright. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, the third woman to win the award for poetry, and was also known for her feminist activism and her many love affairs. She used the pseudonym Nancy Boyd for her prose work.

This famous portrait of Vincent (as she was called by friends) was taken by Carl Van Vechten in 1933.
More about Edna St. Vincent Millay...

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“Oh earth, unhappy planet born to die
Might I your scribe or your confessor be”
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