Talk:Edna St. Vincent Millay

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Her death[edit]

So which is it: heart attack or drunken fall down the stairs? The article says both --Jolomo 17:44, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

I edited this to match Epstein's biography, which cites a fall. I also took out the reference to a poem clutched in her hand for now, since it is not in Epstein -- can anyone substantiate that? --Celithemis 01:29, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I see this has been edited again. I checked both the recent biographies of Millay, by Daniel Mark Epstein and Nancy Milford, and they both agree that she was found at the bottom of the stairs with a broken neck. They're very specific about it -- Milford quotes the person who found her and the doctor who pronounced her dead. I don't know where the heart failure theory comes from; maybe it was someone's theory about why she fell, but neither of them support that. Seems a fall is the current consensus. —Celithemis 02:11, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Personal Life[edit]

I made some major changes to the Personal Life section after looking for and failing to find support for much of it, particularly the paragraph about a love triangle between Millay, Djuna Barnes, and Thelma Wood. I also could not verify the claimed relationships with Natalie Clifford Barney and Berenice Abbott. I did find a reference to a relationship with Thelma Wood and kept that with a citation.

Sources I checked were the biographies of Millay by Nancy Milford and Daniel Mark Epstein, Phillip Herring's biography of Djuna Barnes, and Suzanne Rodriguez's biography of Natalie Barney.

Here is the paragraph before I started editing. If any of the stuff I cut can be verified, then by all means restore it.

Millay, a bisexual, had well-known affairs with other important women in the writing community, which were at times problematic. In late 1912 she spent time in Vienna, Austria and travelled through Italy and Albania. She later went to Paris, where she met novelist Djuna Barnes, with whom she had a strained romantic relationship. Their liaison was marred by mutual jealousy, partly due to a literary rivalry, but mostly because Millay also had an affair with Barnes' long time partner, sculptress Thelma Ellen Wood. Millay allowed her involvement with both Barnes and Wood to come to light, spawning a terrible fight between the three lovers. Both Barnes and Wood ended their relationships with Millay and remained together, but later separated after feuding about another woman. Millay also was involved for some time with the photographer Berenice Abbott, and had a short affair with writer Natalie Barney.

i think she is cool

  • I think that it is suprising that there is no mention of her alcohol and drug use in the article. I have read that she drank much and used heroin regularly. - Two Halves, but what does he know?????


According to Nancy Milford's biography, through most of Millay's adulthood she drank to excess. Later, in middle age, both she and her husband Eugen over-used prescription drugs. She gradually managed to cure her addictions, but they had caused a toll on her health. It might be speculation--or an educated guess--that that is why she died quite young. Younggoldchip (talk) 20:27, 24 April 2011 (UTC)younggoldchip

What to do?[edit]

"Many consider "Renascence" and "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver" to be her finest works." This has been tagged with a weasel-words tag for a while, and I think it needs a cite. "Renascence" was very well received, but "Harp-Weaver"? It's not even particularly representative of her work, nor very distinctive. It might be true, though - critics, even people I otherwise agree with (like Martin Gardner), have said all kinds of bizarre stuff about Millay. Vultur (talk) 16:17, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

factual error regarding Pulitzer Prize for Poetry[edit]

The current wiki states: "She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, for The Harp-Weaver, and Other Poems. She was the first woman to be so honored for poetry."

However, http://www.pulitzer.org/bycat/Poetry states ESVM was not the first woman to receive the Pulitzer for Poetry. Also, the Pulitzer for ESVM was a recognition of more works than are stated in the current wiki:

  • 1918 Love Songs by Sara Teasdale
  • 1919 Old Road to Paradise by Margaret Widdemer
  • 1923 The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver: A Few Figs from Thistles: Eight Sonnets in American Poetry, 1922. A Miscellany by Edna St. Vincent Millay (Harper) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.254.195.187 (talk) 09:31, 14 September 2009 (UTC)

Polyamorous?[edit]

There is a discussion as to whether Ms. Millay belongs in List of polyamorists and Category:Polyamorous people at Category talk:Polyamorous people#Category and list. --Andrewaskew (talk) 01:16, 29 June 2012 (UTC)

Clarify, please[edit]

'Millay's reputation was damaged by the poetry she wrote about the Allied war effort during World War II.' We can't see what this means. Any flesh on the bones? Valetude (talk) 14:39, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

I added more detail. Span (talk) 16:54, 11 February 2014 (UTC)