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Renascence and Other Poems (1917)

von Edna St. Vincent Millay

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397950,250 (4.06)22
Treasury of 23 works by American poet renowned for the lyric beauty of her early works. In addition to the title poem, this collection includes "Interim," "Sorrow," "Ashes of Life," "Three Songs of Shattering," "The Dream," "When the Year Grows Old," and others, including 6 sonnets. Alphabetical lists of titles and first lines.… (mehr)
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Millay is a poet I never paid attention to. Perhaps it was her name. "Edna St. Vincent Millay" sounds like one of those high-minded matrons who might cringe if you use the sugar spoon to stir your tea and then put it back in the bowl. When I read Edmund Wilson’s The Twenties, I learned that its author was hopelessly in love with this elusive, willowy red-head; I became curious to read some of her work.
This, her first collection, was where I decided to start. It's a slim volume that took little more than an hour to read, even though I slowly savored it. All of the poems are good, some of them masterpieces. The title piece in particular, with its vivid description of a mystical experience, left me in awe. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
Like him who day by day unto his draught
Of delicate poison adds him one drop more
Till he may drink unharmed the death of ten,
Even so, inured to beauty, who have quaffed
Each hour more deeply than the hour before,
I drink—and live—what has destroyed some men.


While I enjoyed "Renascence" and the longer poems that constitute the first half of this book, it was the closing six sonnets, especially "Bluebeard," that bumped the collection from three stars to four. Millay's style retains much of the formality and passion of the 19th century Romantics, but interjects perspectives that reflect a Modern aesthetic. In this way, she reminds me of Frost and other poets who bridged Modernism and Romanticism. ( )
  drbrand | Jun 8, 2020 |
I don't know why I bought this book years ago. Maybe because I'd heard the name Edna St. Vincent Millay, and yet had never read or heard a single one of her poems. While skimming through "Books of the Century," this title caught my eye and I remembered that I had "Renascence and Other Poems" somewhere among the thousands of books on my shelves. After some searching it appeared, paper slightly yellowing (it is a $1 Dover edition), I sat down and read the poems--on some I lingered, others were quickly digested.

The general themes are: Death, Loss, Nature. Poetry is a crapshoot for me--either I like a poem immensely, feel it as a tangible thing or I don't get it. That is, I understand the words, even the images, maybe even the idea, but just don't feel what is so special about a particular poem. So with this collection--some of the poems resonated as an auditory, visual and emotional thing, others...were just there. At first I thought, "OK, now I've read these poems, I can donate the book and free up some shelf space", but now, the next day, I feel a need to hold on to the book and delve back into the poems that lingered in my subconscience, like a memory vague, but compelling. ( )
  Marse | Feb 7, 2015 |
Title poem plus 22 other works: "Interim," "Sorrow," "Ashes of Life," "Three Songs of Shattering," other poems revealing lyric beauty, romanticism. Lists of titles and first lines.
  BlessedHopeAcademy | Jul 27, 2013 |
I'm not as fond of this early collection of Millay's poems as I am of some of her later work. Millay has a sentimentalist streak. I like her better when she's being sassy and coy about her sex life. ( )
  aulsmith | Apr 22, 2013 |
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Treasury of 23 works by American poet renowned for the lyric beauty of her early works. In addition to the title poem, this collection includes "Interim," "Sorrow," "Ashes of Life," "Three Songs of Shattering," "The Dream," "When the Year Grows Old," and others, including 6 sonnets. Alphabetical lists of titles and first lines.

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