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Edna St Vincent Millay

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by

Whitney Armold

on 20 April 2010

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Transcript of Edna St Vincent Millay

Sorrow like a ceaseless rain
Beats upon my heart.
People twist and scream in pain,--
Dawn will find them still again;
This has neither wax nor wane,
Neither stop nor start.

People dress and go to town;
I sit in my chair.
All my thoughts are slow and brown:
Standing up or sitting down
Little matters, or what gown
Or what shoes I wear.
I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind blow down the grass,
And the grass rise.

And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down!
Some things are dark—or think they are,
But, in comparison to me,
All things are light enough to see
In any place, at any hour.

For I am Nightmare: where I fly,
Terror and rain stand in the sky
So thick, you could not tell them from
That blackness out of which you come.

So much for "where I fly": but when
I strike, and clutch in claw the brain--
Erebus, to such brain, will seem
The thin blue dusk of pleasant dream. Edna St Vincent Millay Sorrow

/ ^ / ^ / ^ /
Sorrow like a ceaseless rain
/ ^ / ^ /
Beats upon my heart.
/ ^ / ^ / ^ /
People twist and scream in pain,--
/ ^ / ^ / ^ /
Dawn will find them still again;
/ ^ / ^ / ^ /
This has neither wax nor wane,
/ ^ / ^ /
Neither stop nor start. / ^ / ^ / ^ /
People dress and go to town;
/ ^ / ^ /
I sit in my chair.
/ ^ / ^ / ^ /
All my thoughts are slow and brown:
/ ^ / ^ / ^ /
Standing up or sitting down
/ ^ / ^ / ^ /
Little matters, or what gown
/ ^ / ^ /
Or what shoes I wear. "The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through." Rhyme and Meter:
irregular iambic trimeter
the rhyme is regular A

B

A

A

A

B C

D

C

C

C

D

Died on October 19, 1950
She was found dead sitting at the foot of her staircase. . .
Did someone push her? EMILY Why We Chose It: a rare light-hearted poem
exhibits Millay's connection with the Romantic movement Theme: respect for nature's beauty
nature should be celebrated and not disturbed Afternoon on a Hill Speaker: appreciates simple things in life
uses nature to find happiness
enjoys calmly observing the wilderness Some Things Are Dark Why We Chose It: shows that although she wrote upbeat poems, Millay also had elements in her life dark enough to compel her to write a piece like this
has irregular rhyme scheme, but almost perfect meter
published posthumously
assumed to be written in the late 1940s published in 1919 Speaker: Theme: "Not truth, but faith, it is that keeps the world alive."
"The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through."
"Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies. Nobody that matters, that is." Obstacles:
harsh critics of her poems
judgement based on prejudices Death:
Edgar died of lung cancer in 1949
the heartbroken Edna became a drunk
she was found dead at the foot of her staircase on October 19, 1950
it is obvious that the fall killed her, but no one knows the cause. . . Mariage:
Married Edgar Jan Boissevain who provided influence for her poems
The two had an open marriage, each of them having many affairs


First woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for poetry
Edcation:
Camden High School began her poetry career
First poems were published in various children's magazines, the Camden Herald, and the anthology Current Literature, all before age 15
Millay was offered a free education at Vasser College
many relationships with her peers at Vasser College, an all female school Backround:
Born Febuary 22, 1892 in Rochland, Maine
Mother taught her reading and poetry darkness and morbidity that is darker than anything imaginable
the speaker brings gloom and saddness to every aspect of her life has a bad outlook on the world
believes that out of everything, she is the most dark and hopeless
she has no happiness, brings terror and gloom to everything Tone: gloomy examination of the speaker's self
dark thoughts
hopelessness Tone: contentment
love for nature (romantic)
enjoyment of natural beauty
peacefully thankful for nature Sorrow
Speaker:
a person so depressed that she has let the world go by without her
she doesn't care what happens around her
her pain has no variation: it is always excrutiating
she let her sorrow overtake her life Theme:
the speaker's sorrow is relentless and extremely painful
the sorrow overshadows all other emotions
human interests have become obselete
no more enjoyment Tone:
hopeless misery
morbid and unhappy thoughts
pessimistic outlook on life Why We Chose It:
the poem shows Millay's deep emotion
it contrasts some of her romantic works
it shows that people can relate to her ideas published in 1917 Bibliography:
Millay, Norma. Collected Poems Edna St. Vincent Millay. Harper Perenial, 1956.

Warlow, Francis W. "Millay." Encyclopedia of World Biography.
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