“Not truth, but faith it is that keeps the world alive.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was born in Maine in February 1892, won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry – only the third woman to win the award in that category – in 1923. And just to show that she wasn’t a “one hit wonder,” she won the Frost Medal for her lifetime contribution to American poetry 20 years later. In between, she wrote many, many great poems and earned the accolade from fellow poet Richard Wilbur that “She wrote some of the best sonnets of the century.” Prose writer Thomas Hardy said America had two great attractions: The skyscraper and the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Millay, who graduated from Vassar and spent much of her adult life in New York, also wrote plays and prose (under the pseudonym Nancy Boyd). She once said, “A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down. If it is a good book nothing can hurt him. If it is a bad book nothing can help him.” Hers were good, and her poetry was even better.
A feminist and activist for human rights, she railed against bigotry and hatred. “Let us forget such words, and all they mean, as Hatred, Bitterness and Rancor, Greed, Intolerance, Bigotry,” she said. “Let us renew our faith and pledge to Man, his right to be Himself, and free.”
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