Edna St. Vincent Millay was born in Rockland, Maine in 1892. Millay was only 19 when she published one of her most famous poems Renascence. She went on to publish a lot more poetry along with plays, political writings, and a libretto for an opera set to music by Deems Taylor. Edna also went on cross-country reading tours and recited poetry over the radio to support the war effort. In 1923 Edna St. Vincent Millay received the Pulitzer Prize.
In Millay's earlier years her mother, Cora, raised her along with with her two sisters. Her mother Cora, raised them alone after she asked their father to leave the family home in 1899. Edna's mother encouraged her three daughters to be ambitious and self-sufficient. She instilled in them an appreciation of music and literature forms at an early age.
Renascence vs. Travel
Renascence is one of Edna St. Vincent Millay's first poems. Renascence is a poem about limit. In the beginning of the poem Millay talks about how limits are stifling and constricting, but later on in the poem she goes on the say they are liberating and a measure of one's spiritual being.
Travel is a poem about the desire to get away and to leave her town. In the poem Millay say how she can hear the train when there is no train there, this is suppose to symbolize her longing to travel and thinking about it all the time.
There are many common themes in Edna St. Vincent Millay's poems. Millay often had a theme of relationships, whether it was between wife and husband in An Ancient Gesture, or between disaffected lovers as in The Spring and The Fall.
Another theme Millay wrote about was integrity of the individual. In The Return Millay wrote about a man who escaped into the illusory "comfort" of nature. Another poem with this theme is Here Lies, and None to Mourn Him, which is about a humankind that has compromised itself by a reliance on technology.
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