Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Edna St. Vincent Millay The 1920 s were definitely a time for rejoicing. With the war just ending, and the economic boom just beginning, people of all ages were expressing their happiness in all sorts of extravagant and flagrant ways. All of this change in such a short amount of time also brought many different and interesting ways of viewing the world. From writing, dancing, art and music, the bright post-war world promised a renaissance for America (Gioia). The concerns and features in poetry dealt with the audience during the decade. The general readers of the 1920 s were usually classified as having intelligence and curiosity, and the lines of class, age and occupation were closely related. These are the people who support the arts and who buy such poetry like the kind by Edna St. Vincent Millay (Gioia). As Walt Whitman, a great composer of poetry said, To have great poets, there must be great audiences too. The works of Edna St. Vincent Millay have been characterized as an effective representation of the optimistic, unconventional and exciting atmosphere of the jazz age. (Di Mauro, 199) Edna St. Vincent Millay s poetry reflected the exuberant mood of social change that characterized the jazz age of the 1920 s. Millay s popularity started at the early age of 20, with the greatly acclaimed poem, Renaissance. which was published in the year nineteen twelve. With Millay s foot already in the door in the eclectic world of poetry, Millay began to be deemed as one of the most accomplished sonneteers and poets of the 20th century, (Di Mauro, 199) for her unique ways off expressing the many themes with a private, introspective tone. So hear upon my back ill lie, And look my fill into the sky And so I looked, and after all, The sky was not so very tall. The sky, I said, must somewhere stop... And- sure enough! -I see the top! These themes in her writing, such as childhood, nature, love and death were commonly perceived as being light-hearted and brash, for example, Renaissance expressed the poets spiritual awakening, (much like the decade itself) and is also noted for its vivid nature imagery and childlike tone. Edna St. Vincent Millay was also deemed a feminist (Blaine), and tried to portray this in an expanded way through her poetry with range and depth. Various critics suggested that many aspects of her poetry dealt with dark themes and feminine perspectives (Blaine): themes such as suffering, vulnerability, and victimization (Blaine). Many a bard s untimely death Lends unto his verses breath; Here s a song was never sung: Growing old is dying young. Millay s popularity was at its height when she received the Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for the Ballad of the Harp-Weaver . Poems such as this primarily were concerned with her own emotional life. Millay s given popularity and her own involvement in politics and social concerns of the time were very notable and usually had a large impact with readers of her work during the decade. For example, poems such as Thursday , in which she playfully denigrated social conventions by depicting women who remained casual and un-attached in love relationships-which was the traditional attitudes of men. (Di Mauro, 199) 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? This was also a stereotype for the decade. The reflection of the public image of independence and rebellion was strengthened by her flippant tone used in many of her poems. (Di Mauro, 199) Millay s works also became more political in the late 20 s, and her efforts at propaganda were generally criticized as overly sentimental and less successful then her writing about personal subjects in her earlier years. Millay had been directly influenced by the escalation of global tensions in the years leading up to the Depression. They must not go alone Into that burning building!- Which today Is all of Europe Say That you go with them, spirit and heart and mind Although the body, grown Edna St. Vincent Millay was a leader. She was America s poetic mouthpiece during the World War Two era. She was also widely seen as exemplar of the new woman of the roaring twenties, and she remained this way throughout most of her productive life. Edna St. Vincent Millay was hailed as the voice of her generation, embodiment of th

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