Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Beginning/Friday 56: Renascence and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.

ALL I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked the other way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I'd started from;
And all I saw from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood.

~~from Renascence

The Shroud

DEATH, I say, my heart is bowed
Unto thine,—O mother!
This red gown will make a shroud
Good as any other!
(I, that would not wait to wear
My own bridal things,
In a dress dark as my hair
Made my answerings.
I, to-night, that till he came
Could not, could not wait,
In a gown as bright as flame
Held for them the gate.)
~~~Posted for The Friday 56, which is hosted by Freda's Voice

Renascence and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1917)

Millay, Edna St. Vincent, 1892-1950

In this book of poetry, the descriptions of nature is exquisite and imagery is marvellous. In the title poem "Renascence" Millay is eloquent about the core of the universe consisting of God, death, living, suffering and also the beauties of the world. 

"The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand
The soul can split the sky in two
And let the face of God shine through..."

Millay explores  the beauty of nature, and speaks of love and loss at the same time. T
he poems are about a perfect autumn and flowered fields, about starting a tavern for grey-eyed people, witch-wives, broken heart, and short poems like "shattering." "The Suicide", touched me--

"CURSE thee, Life, I will live with thee no more
Thou hast mocked me, starved me, beat my body sore!
And all for a pledge that was not pledged by me,
I have kissed thy crust and eaten sparingly
That I might eat again, and met thy sneers
With deprecations, and thy blows with tears,—
Aye, from thy glutted lash, glad, crawled away,
As if spent passion were a holiday!"

At first glance, her poems may seem very simplistic as her lines are short and themes universal. She does not go for complex rhyming or stream of consciousness. Some of the poems are more like songs. The language is beautiful, metaphors don't hit hard and tends more towards nature even when she is writing about the human emotions and feelings.

"I WILL be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one...."

Renascence and Other Poems is not just about beautiful language but it is about our emotions, feelings, the beauty of nature and the pure enjoyment that comes from reading great poetry.


Juli Rahel said...

I quite like Edna's poetry. I had to study some last term at University and I agree with your comments :) I should read more poetry, actually! Thanks for sharing :) I hope you have a good weekend!
My Friday Post
Juli @ Universe in Words

Lianne @ said...

Thanks for sharing this! I've never read any of her poetry but she has wonderful lyricism. Will keep a lookout for her work :)

Happy reading! My Friday Book Memes :)

Grant Goodman said...

A great post featuring a wonderful poet. I love the simplicity of her writing. The simplicity unravels the complexities of nature.

Thanks for sharing


Unknown said...

I enjoyed the poetry today. You can check out my Friday Memes here:

Anonymous said...

Poetry always finds a way to stir something inside of me. Thank you for sharing.

My Friday 56

JLS Hall said...

Lovely. I fell in love with her poetry when I was a teenager, and still read it today. Good choice!

Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate said...

I love the selections you included from Renascence, absolutely beautiful! I am downloading this book today! Perfect for April which is National Poetry Month. Thanks for visiting me @ The Key to the Gate! Have a great weekend.
Happy Reading,

Lisbeth said...

Really beautiful. You will love the descriptions of the island in 'John Dollar'. It is also very poetic.

fredamans said...

Rhyming verse is my kind of prose. I do love her poetry.
Happy weekend!

Yvonne said...

What a great Friday post!

Have a great weekend!

Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

I am spending the month of April reading poetry, too. Today I was ready poems by Rumi that quite shocked me. Ha!

Here are my Friday 56 and Book Beginning quotes: Anne@My Head is Full of Books

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

Lovely and lyrical...thanks for sharing! And thanks for visiting my blog.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Gautami,

I haven't come across this poet before, however this book is a definite for addition to my shelves of books which get dipped in and out of, albeit only occasionally.

I don't generally tend to read a poetry book from beginning to end, but to be able to pluck a verse from within the pages of a book, is a great joy.

The poems may be simple, however eloquence and beauty doesn't need to be expansive and flowery, to have maximum impact, does it?

Thanks for sharing and enjoy your weekend,


guiltlessreader said...

Sounds lovely, Gautami! Happy weekend.

RuthB said...

I love poetry but I haven't read any by this author.
Great choices


Elizabeth said...

I remember reading her in college or high school...can't remember which. :)

Not a poem fan, though.

THANKS for sharing.

Silver's Reviews
My Book Beginnings

Harvee said...

I like Millay's themes. I will put her on my poetry list!

Anonymous said...

You appreciated it so much more than I would have :)