The "Exquisite Polyamorous Love Letters" of Edna St. Vincent Millay
As societal attentions change, historical people we knew in one context may re-emerge in another. For instance, once gay history became a thing, the computing pioneer and World War II codebreaker Alan Turing gained new attention for an aspect of his life that had mostly been swept under the rug. And the poetry of Walt Whitman gained a new audience.
Maybe something like this will happen now with the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. You probably read her in high school, where things were swept under the rug. Today, February 22nd, is her birthday.
From the website Brain Pickings:
Happy Birthday, Edna St. Vincent Millay: The Celebrated Poet’s Exquisite Polyamorous Love Letters
“Surely, one must be either undiscerning, or frightened, to love only one person, when the world is so full of gracious and noble spirits.”
Portrait by Carl Van Vechten, 1933
By Maria Popova
Edna St. Vincent Millay (February 22, 1892 – October 19, 1950) was only thirty-one when she became the third woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. She remains one of the most influential and timelessly bewitching poets in the English language. Today, Millay might be described as openly bisexual and polyamorous. But beneath such constricting labels lies the simple truth that her extraordinary poetic potency sprang from her boundless capacity for love and beauty — a capacity so boundless that she fell in love frequently and intensely, with both men and women, often with multiple people at the same time.
Read on (Feb. 22, 2016).