Russell Bittner's Reviews > Collected Poems

Collected Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
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's review
Oct 08, 2009

it was amazing
Read in October, 2009

I would submit that Edna St. Vincent Millay may be the most underrated poet in the English language.

Was she a formalist, and therefore out of vogue? Too bad. Was she a naughty girl, and therefore sent to a place less than nice when she died? More power to her; I'm sure she felt right at home.

The woman who, as an undergrad at Vassar, defied the president of the college to expel her and was told "What? "And have a banished Shelley on my doorstep?" -- and who then allegedly responded "On those terms, I think I can continue to live in this hell hole" -- was obviously not someone to be trifled with.

Cheeky? No doubt. A hellcat? She could've set the wind on fire -- then have doused the flames in a wink with wit alone.

Every one of the sonnets in this collection is a gift to the reader. This book alone is worth a year's tuition at Vassar -- and would no doubt prove more valuable to the few who may be caught there (or at Smith, Wellesley, Barnard, Mount Holyoke, or Bryn Mawr) against their will. It's too bad Radcliffe merged with Harvard only well after her death. The only wonder is that she didn't rise from the grave to stop it -- or, instead, lead the movement to have Harvard merge with Radcliffe.
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message 1: by Jessica (new) - added it

Jessica Snyder The kindle edition of this will be released in November, and I'm all kinds of eager to get it. I hope they don't screw it up (poetry and kindle editions don't generally mesh well).

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