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Second April and Other Poems


Second April and Other Poems


“Surely, one must be either undiscerning, or frightened, to love only one person, when the world is so full of gracious and noble spirits.”

Pulitzer Prize-winner Edna St. Vincent Millay was one of the most popular and respected poets in America. She is noted for both her dramatic works, including Aria da capo, The Lamp and the Bell, and the libretto composed for an opera, The King’s Henchman, and for such lyric verses as “Renascence” and the collections A Few Figs From Thistles, Second April, and The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1923.

In her writings she lashed out against the callousness of humankind and its “unkindness, hypocrisy, and self-indulgence.” Further, she was appalled by “the ugliness of man, his cruelty, his greed, his lying face.”

Millay’s popularity as a poet had at least as much to do with her person: she was celebrated for her spellbinding readings and performances, her progressive political stances, frank portrayal of both hetero and homosexuality, her polyamorous lifestyle, and, above all, her embodiment of new kinds of female experience and expression.

“Edna St. Vincent Millay,” notes her biographer Nancy Milford, “became the herald of the New Woman.”

EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY (1892–1950) was an American poet and playwright. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, and was also known for her feminist activism. In 1943 Millay was awarded the Frost Medal for her lifetime contribution to American poetry.

“Millay wrote some of the best sonnets of the century—among the finest in the language."

-Richard Wilbur

“Edna St. Vincent Millay is one of the only poets writing in English in our time who have attained to anything like the stature of the great literary figures.”

-Edmund Wilson


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