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Reviews by Cindy Reaves

Renascence and Other Poems

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Much interest in Edna St. Vincent Millay was aroused in the last few years because of two biographies which included the risque events of the poet's life. According to the biographers, Millay was, in varying degress depending on the time, quite alcoholic and promiscuous. She raised eyebrows at her confesedly hedonistic view of living.

Still, poems such as the "Fig" poems, the sonnets, and especially "Renascence" reveal a uniquely female heart--one that eschewed middle-class morality and yet was hungry for God and a deeper sense of truth and being. And that is what a reader brings away from a reading: an Emily Dickinson-style encounter with truth. (E.D. said she knew it was poetry when the top of her head blew off.)

We know what Millay means in "God's World" when in the fall she pleads with the Creator not to allow one more "burning leaf" to fall and not to allow another bird to call for fear that she will be consumed by autumn's beauty. We wonder whether we could have borne another verse.

Reviewed on 2006.10.08

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