Wednesday, June 10, 2009

for edna st. vincent millay (9)

for edna st. vincent millay
"[…a friend ]told me of seeing her years ago in
Greenwich Village running around the corner of
Macdougal Street, flushed & laughing 'like a
nymph,' with her hair swinging…"
Edmund Wilson
yrs was a true voice of yr generation,
vincent, spoken with feeling rising up
from yr toes, transgressive & traditional,

yet patently postmodern, not unlike the

conflicted contradictions in yr own life.

an anchor for bohemian identity &

unrepentant feminist compass pointing to

emancipated love, u slept with women &

men, a sappho for those wide-eyed girls

at vassar who came joyeously to yr bed.

but then u parked & abandoned yr
lesbianism at graduation to pursue multiple

male sex partners, often several in a day for
the rest of yr life. never truly a lesbian,

but always a thespian, u showed us how

to fling pretty follies aside, how to repel

or embrace murderous emotion, how to

repel or embrace interloping death in
traditional tetrameter, in simple minimalist

couplets containing the profound & the

mystical, in concussive sonnets bursting

with images descriptive of rapture, of

powerful forces, cosmic & soular,

within & without & in collision.

© Joseph McNair; 2009


  1. There is something to be said about saying what you mean and meaning what you say despite the consequences. Censorship is overrated.

  2. I love your composite illustration of Edna Millay.