CAMDEN—This summer’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the “discovery” of Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay in 1912 at Camden’s Whitehall Inn finishes with a flourish in September. All events are free and open to the public.
The 1992 film documentary “Renascence: Edna St. Vincent Millay, Poet” will be shown at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 5, at the Whitehall Inn. Written and produced for Millay’s centennial by Maine filmmakers Vanessa Barth and Doreen Conway with poet Kathleen Ellis, the film was funded by the Maine Humanities Council and sponsored by the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, the birthplace of Millay on February 22, 1892.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, the Whitehall Inn and Camden Public Library will co-sponsor two events. From 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the library, a program will be held on “The Maine Coast in Millay’s Poems.” Poets and scholars Linda Buckmaster, Kathleen Ellis, Judith Hakola, and Gary Lawless will present a slide show of prominent Maine locations in Maine’s work and discuss Millay’s “Renascence,” “Ragged Island,” and other poems of place in relation to Millay’s early life in the midcoast Maine area.
Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., poets and others will meet at the Millay plaque atop Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park for a Millay Marathon Reading. Also co-sponsored by the Whitehall Inn and Camden Public Library, the marathon features poets Linda Buckmaster, Annaliese Jakimides, Gary Lawless, Carolyn Locke, Barbara-Maria, Jim Mello, Bruce Pratt, Karin Spitfire, and many others.
After the featured readers, members of the audience are welcome to read a Millay poem. Those who would like to carpool to the mountaintop should meet at 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot near the park gate.
The final two events for September will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 12, including a guided walk to local Millay sites, all within five blocks of the Whitehall Inn. The walk begins at 3:30 p.m. in the Millay Room at the Inn.
At 7 p.m., Sept. 12, four poets and a chemist will join for the series finale to reappraise Millay’s poetry and translations and also read some of their own poetry at the Whitehall Inn. “Rediscover Millay” will feature host Kathleen Ellis with poets Annie Finch, Arielle Greenberg, and Carl Little and chemist François Amar. Refreshments will be served.
Millay was one of the most popular American poets during the 1920s and 1930s, writing plays and operas in addition to her poetry. She symbolized the liberated woman of the Jazz Age, and British writer Thomas Hardy famously named skyscrapers and Edna St. Vincent Millay as the two wonders of America.
During the Depression, new volumes of her poems sold up to 20,000 copies in the first months of publication.
For more information about the Millay Anniversary Celebration series or to make dinner reservations before the Sept. 12 event, call (207) 236-3391.