January 23, 2018
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Millay celebration to mark poet’s 1912 ‘discovery’ in Camden

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CAMDEN, Maine — Camden’s historic Whitehall Inn will mark the 100th anniversary of the “discovery” of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay at the inn in 1912 with a series of weekly poetry events from June through mid-September.

After Caroline Dow, a summer guest at the Whitehall Inn in 1912, heard Millay read on Aug. 29, she arranged for a scholarship for the poet to enter Vassar College and introduced her to New York publishers and writers. After graduation from college, Millay settled in Greenwich Village and went on to become one of the best-known literary personalities of the 20th century.

Most of this summer’s events in celebration of the “It Girl of the 1920s” will be held in the Millay Room at the Whitehall Inn.

The series will kick off with a June 7 film showing of the 1992 documentary “Renascence: Edna St Vincent Millay, Poet.” Largely in Millay’s own words and using family and period photos, the film traces Millay’s poetic development from her Maine roots to her Greenwich Village years to her social and political activism.

Written and directed by two Maine filmmakers and a poet, the film was produced with support from the Maine Humanities Council and sponsored by the Farnsworth Art Museum to celebrate the centennial of the poet’s birth in Rockland in February 1892.

Other June events include a poetry reading on Wednesday, June 13, featuring Belfast Poet Laureate Jacob Fricke, Lisa Panepinto, University of Maine poets and student poets from the state’s Poetry Out Loud program.

A guided tour of local Millay sites in Camden, including the statue of the poet in Harbor Park, will take place on June 20.

Poet Kathleen Ellis, who also coordinates the summer series, will lead a two-day poetry writing workshop at the Whitehall Inn on June 20 and 27. The workshop will focus on clothing and identity in poetry. In addition, the group will examine some of Millay’s poems about disguise, duplicity and masquerade, which criticized the gender roles and sexual identity of the time.

Participants in the poetry writing workshop will present a reading at 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 27 in the Whitehall’s Millay Room.

For a schedule of events or to enroll in the poetry writing workshop, call 207-236-3391, or visit http://www.whitehall-inn.com/ for information.