The poet’s voice

Listen to rare recordings of Edna St. Vincent Millay reading her poems.


Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was born in Rockland, Maine. At her mother’s urging, she entered her poem “Renascence” into a contest and won fourth place, bringing her immediate acclaim and a scholarship to Vassar. She continued to write poetry in college and became involved in theater.

In 1917, Millay published her first book, “Renascence and Other Poems.” She published “A Few Figs From Thistles,” a volume of poetry that drew much attention for its controversial descriptions of female sexuality and feminism, in 1920. At the request of Vassar’s drama department, she wrote her first verse play, “The Lamp and the Bell,” in 1921. Her fourth volume of poetry, “The Harp Weaver,” was awarded the 1921 Pulitzer Prize.

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The recordings featured here are taken from “Five American Women,” part of Random House Audio’s “Voice of the Poet” series. “Fatal Interview: Sonnet LI” was recorded on Jan. 8, 1933. The recording date of “Recuerdo” is unknown.

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