Three Poets to Discuss Millay’s Life, Loves, and Poems in Whitehall Inn Series

Posted July 23, 2012, at 1:57 p.m.
Poets Edna St. Vincent Millay and Arthur Ficke in New York. (Photo: Beinecke Collection, Yale University)
Poets Edna St. Vincent Millay and Arthur Ficke in New York. (Photo: Beinecke Collection, Yale University)

Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012 7:58 p.m. to 7:58 p.m.

Location: Whitehall Inn, 52 High Street/Route 1, Camden, Maine

For more information: Kathleen Ellis; 581-3845;

CAMDEN, Maine — Three Maine poets will read and discuss the life, loves, poems, and politics of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay at 7 p.m., Wednesday, August 8 at the historic Whitehall Inn in Camden.

The presentation, “My Candle Burns at Both Ends,” features Rockland poet laureate Carol Bachofner, Camden poet Gayle Portnow, and poet and UMaine Augusta professor of English Ellen Taylor, who lives in Appleton.

This summer’s Millay Anniversary Celebration marks the 100th anniversary of the “discovery” of the poet on August 29, 1912, when Millay recited “Renascence” at the Whitehall Inn and a New York City guest became her patron.

Millay, who was called “Vincent” as a girl, has been mythologized as a gallant child responsible for the household and her two younger sisters, while her divorced mother, a practical nurse, often worked away from home for days at a time.

Despite the hardships of her early life, by sheer talent and ambition, the young poet and actress managed to liberate herself from a hardscrabble existence, attend Vassar College, earn her living in New York City as a

writer and actress, and become one of the most popular American poets of the 20th century.

Millay’s sassy and flamboyant poems of the 1920s earned her reputation as a Greenwich Village flapper and poet of a new generation of American women. The Whitehall presentation will consider her early stance of cool indifference in the early love poems as well as the enlarged scope of her later work linking feminism and social protest as a sign of her artistic maturity.

In an interview in 1938, before the outbreak of World War II, Millay said, “Persons who begin writing lyric poetry at a young age are deeply concerned with themselves. As they mature, they begin to grow out of themselves and they feel concern for others.”

Admission for the presentation is free, and refreshments will be served. For more information or dinner reservations before the event at Vincent’s, the Whitehall’s restaurant, call 236-3391.