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The Selected Poetry

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,574 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
One of America’s most celebrated poets—and winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1923—Edna St. Vincent Millay defined a generation with her passionate lyrics and intoxicating voice of liberation. Edited by Millay biographer Nancy Milford, this Modern Library Paperback Classics collection captures the poet’s unique spirit in works like Renascence and Other Poems, A Few Figs from ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 10th 2002 by Modern Library (first published November 28th 1991)
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Rowena
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
These were lovely poems, pleasant to read and with easy interpretations. Some of her poems about death had a very Sylvia Plath feel to them. Most of the poems had nature elements. She described her love for the great outdoors in great detail. I want to go run around in a meadow now :)
David
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, lady-writers
Everything in life seems to me to be ephemeral, always passing, changing, transforming. Nothing stays the same, nothing lasts. We live in a very narrow slice of infinity, and in our mind we explode every moment of that slice to something enormous, something of incomprehensible significance. We analyze every glance and turn of phrase, we plan our days and weeks and months and five-year plans, and our retirements which we may never reach. We are always sad to let things go, it does not come natura ...more
Kelly
I have great difficulties with poetry. At first, it was because I was a member of the "roll your eyes and hold your nose" contingent as regarded pretty much the entire art form. Except Shakespeare, don't you know, because I was a cultured little thing, and well- how couldn't I? That reason changed when all of a sudden, I encountered a poet I loved. And irony of ironies, he was one of the major roll your eyes poets even for people who could enjoy poetry- Byron. I just loved it- but it didn't have ...more
mwpm mwpm
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
From Renascence...

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down!
- Afternoon on a Hill, pg. 23

* * *

Love, if I weep it will not matter,
And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
But it is good to feel you there.

Love, in my sleep I
...more
El
I'm really not all that great with poetry yet. I think that if I know enough about a poet's personal life that I will have a better appreciation for their poetry. This may or may not be true, but this is sort of my first experience of trying that out, reading two biographies about Millay while reading this selection of poetry on the side.

Knowing more about the author helps in one way - I know what was going on when she wrote certain poems, how old she was, possibly what was going on in the world
...more
Jillian
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I picked this up because I came across a snippet of one of Millay's poems somewhere (can't remember now of course):

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!


When I read this, I swamped with work, correcting papers, and choreographing/directing a musical. And those four little lines managed to make me nod my head, smile to myself, and think, "Oh yes. I know exactly what she means." So of course, I scurried over to my librar
...more
Kaion
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I am a little irate that this volume turned out not to be the promised Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, but instead should be titled "Poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay That Happens to be in the Public Domain". Namely, this consists of the entirety of her first three collections Renascence and Other Poems, A Few Figs From Thistles, and Second April; as well as "The Ballad of the Harp Weaver" and additional sonnets from American Poetry, 1922: A Miscellany.

There is something I find perp
...more
Adam Ferrell
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best sonnet writer since Shakespeare.

Many of the poems in this book have changed my vocabulary, my way of thinking, and my definition of literary beauty.
Allison Long
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I don't know too much about Edna St. Vincent Millay, but the more I read about her, the more I'm intrigued.

I have always adored her poem 'First Fig', so I set out to read more of her poetry. 'Selected Poetry' consists of both flippant verses and those obsessed with death (no really, there is some morbid stuff there). The language is beautiful and sad because so much of it has fallen out of favor with more contemporary styles.

'Selected Poetry' makes you wonder when reading poetry fell out of fa
...more
Samantha Luciano
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Head on over to my Instagram at instagram.com/samanthaivyyyy for reviews
Jennifer
Nov 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love Millay's poetry. Her engagement with the natural world, her rather cynical view of romance, her moments of grace and grief, all speak to me.
Sarah Koppelkam
At first I was like "nah, Edna, you use way too many exclamation points and you're way too reverent" but then I got sucked in by the biting, fiercely independent voice lurking beneath the first few poems of this collection. Then Edna reveals herself with poems like "Thursday":

"And if I loved you Wednesday,
Well, what is that to you?
I do not love you Thursday -
So much is true.

And why you come complaining
Is more than I can see.
I loved you Wednesday, - Yes - but what is that to me?"

Edna St. V
...more
Gen
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I find I'm mostly alone on this but I feel a distance between me and poetry like it's too personal for me to view no matter where I'm seeing it or how much I enjoy it. Millay's words completely betray this feeling, I understood and gushed over the poems. I borrowed a copy of this from the library but it looks like I'm definitely buying I need this on my shelf <3.
Lara Selavka
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was my long-awaited return to poetry (I hadn't picked up a collection of poems since college, nearly a decade ago). Her earlier pieces have a very dreary, New England tone to them that I immediately loved. And as mentioned in other reviews, she relies heavily on nature, and our eventual return to it upon death. I am delighted to have picked this as my foray back into the world of poetry!
Misha
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
love!
Pati Roberson
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent poetry!
Carlton Moore
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends --
It gives a lovely light!
Ata
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
adore her
Mary
Aug 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2013-books
3 stars.

Let me be completely up front, I know absolutely nothing about poetry. My high school English teachers tried to drill some things into my brain, but it never really stuck. What I do know is what I like and what I don’t. What sticks out to me and what’s just meh.

So this review is based completely on my enjoyment of the poems and has nothing to actually do with which ones were well written.
A lot of the poems were completely uninteresting to me and were almost a chore to read, but there wer
...more
Adam
Jun 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Here is a woman in constant mourning
For spring, for autumn, the end of silence,
For beauties, lovers departed long since,
For all her previous states of being,
With such a sorrowful way of seeing,
With joy unexpressed, save in the past tense,
This heart exposed behind a crumbled fence,
Forever longing, forever warning.
So on my shelf of poets, here’s her place:
By Pablo, who paints the Earth erotic,
While Erich’s pen a sacred dream may toss,
By Charles who finds beauty in a race
And hurls crass arrows at t
...more
Michaela
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
I only very recently heard of Edna St. Vincent Millay, which is a shame. Her poems are remarkable. Of course, I don't love every single one, but I have more than a few new favorites, which is impressive enough for one small volume. Her poetry has the facade of more traditional poetry, with its meter and rhyme, and especially its penchant for invoking classical mythology, medieval figures, and flowers. Yet, the words are strikingly modern. The ideas and emotions couched within those words are by ...more
Maryann
Apr 26, 2009 rated it liked it
Herein lies the danger for someone who 1. loves to read just about anything 2. works in the bargain section at a book store. There is very little to disuade me from buying more books than I can read at one time (the vicious cycle - ooh, that looks interesting...I'll just stick a copy on my shelf and maybe buy it later, it's only $3.99...20 books later I've spent a lot of money on books I wouldn't otherwise even think to read. That is not to say that I don't enjoy Millay - I enjoy her very much. ...more
Alicia
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
After reading Robuck's Fallen Beauty, I wanted to read some of Millay's poetry and while I can make the connection the the historical fiction account of her life and some of her poetry, I wasn't as amazed as I thought I would be. Her poetry is very dark, while some of the nature poetry is whimsical. Some I had to ponder on and some I didn't want to think too long on! There were lines that resonated with me but as for copying and re-reading certain poems (like I do with Neruda), I didn't find mys ...more
Sigfried
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I think she may have been one of the last bastions of the sonnet before the scene was taken over by imagists and free verse beatniks. I guess the reason the sonnet fell out of favor was that it was formulaic and was unabashedly contrived, which doesn't stand up to modernism very well unless you're being ironic. Unfortunately, Edna was rather sincere. Still, there a few good lines that make me quiver. A sentence pattern here and there that will bring a smile, a word choice equivalent to a three-p ...more
Jon
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
During my first year as a teacher, I was preparing poems for a unit, and my wife suggested I used some by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I was embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of Millay. My wife marched over to her bookshelf and returned with this collection. Within two minutes, I was under Millay's spell, and I have been ever since. Somehow, her work was never introduced to me, even during my work as an English major, which is rather sad. As such, I make sure to present at least one of her ...more
BoBandy
Feb 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Seems to me that her best poems in this volume are the ones in which she is a poet, rather than trying to be Poet. Those moments when she lets her guard down, when she isn't trying to fit a particular mold. The best example of what I mean would be my favorite poem in the collection, Recuerdo; it's relaxed, casual, playful, unselfconscious.
Laura
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very much enjoyed this little book of selected poetry. It was much darker than I ever imagined it to be, with death and heartbreak, loneliness and bitterness very central and prevalent themes. There was also many references to classical mythology which was also very enjoyable. I liked her tendency to rhyme and the sonnets were witty and sharp.
Ashley Blake
Apr 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Edna St. Vincent Millay was a paragon of great American poetry and the position of women in the arts. The first woman to win the Pulitzer prize for poetry, her verses are teeming with all the vibrant colors that surrounded her life. Although I like her later poetry perhaps more than this earlier collection, I always admire her bold art in any form.
Gina
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love her work. When I was younger, I read a few of her poems and liked the passion in the lines. In honor of National Poetry Month, I thought I'd revisit her. Now, after reading this small text of her work, I have a new respect for this poet. My favorites:"Renascence", "Blight", "Thursday", "Spring", "Mariposa", and many others. Enjoy!
Sarah
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I truly enjoyed reading this collection of poetry, my high rating is based on my love for a number of different poems scattered through the collection that truly spoke to me. Millay's use of imagery was so beautiful that even within the shortest of poems I could imagine the setting in great detail. I will definitely be reading more of Edna Millay's works.
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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.
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“My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I'll not be knowing,
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,
No matter where it's going.”
1263 likes
“She is happy where she lies
With the dust upon her eyes.”
84 likes
More quotes…