A Year in Books/Day 83: Savage Beauty

  • Title: Savage Beauty The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Author: Nancy Milford
  • Year Published: 2001 (Random House)
  • Year Purchased: 2002-2004
  • Source: Barnes & Noble
  • About: This distinguished biography of the Maine-born poet is one hell of an intense, engaging read. It’s well-researched and superbly written, pulling you with ease and throbbing immediacy into the bohemian haunts of the Greenwich Village and Paris of the early twentieth century. Thanks to Milford’s contact with the poet’s younger sister, Norma, she was able to access Millay’s personal archives. It is at once nuanced and immense, revelatory and re-affirmative; the result is one of my favourite literary biographies.
  • Motivation: Edna. St. Vincent. Millay. Seriously, her talent, intellect and life were breathtaking and bewitching. I also may or may not bear a striking physical resemblance to the red-haired poet. Really, I should write a one-woman show based on her life and cast myself in the role. Hmmm. Maybe I should start practicing that Down East accent.
  • Times Read: Countless
  • Random Excerpt/Page 78: “That was a remarkable note of affection, and it would not be the last time Edna St. Vincent Millay would win to her side an older woman who was in a position to help her. They were taken with Edna Millay. They wanted to assist her in any way they could, perhaps because in the careful structure of their lives they felt diminished. Her life would be grand, sweeping, urgent. Incapable of this themselves, they would help her.”
  • Happiness Scale: 10
    Photograph of Edna St. Vincent Millay

    Photograph of Edna St. Vincent Millay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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