Friday night after the kiddos were in bed and Sam was off at the coffee shop, I crawled into bed with Edna St. Vincent Millay. Well, not the poetess herself, but the wonderful biography by Nancy Milford. I inhaled the last 200 pages EVEN when I knew that Atticus would most likely be waking throughout the night. He did wake up a billion and one times, but it was totally worth it.
I’ve gone from a passing admiration and delight with Edna St. Vincent Millay to an obsession of near Plath-like proportions. Millay’s life makes for good reading: strange family relationships, bohemianism, heartbreak, affairs, gossip, more affairs, illness, and then a few more affairs. I thought Milford did a good job of not giving in to sensationalism. The reader see Edna as a full-human; yes, she is a sexually-free person and a damn fine poet, but she is also a mother, sister, wife, friends, etc…. Also, this was a well-balanced book in that Edna was not sainted and not vilified. Accomplishments and kindness are noted as are the human errors and faults.
Milford briefly lived with Millay’s sister, Norma, at Millay’s home (Steepletop) while researching. The biography effectively communicates that closeness: Edna St. Vincent Millay feels very present in the book and I thought Milford a through researcher and a fabulous writer.
I’m eager to read another biography by Nancy Milford, Zelda: a biography, which is about Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald. I might actually have to purchase that one!
I haven’t announced it yet on Fig and Thistle, but I’m participating in International Anita Brookner Day. I’m about half-way through Hotel du Lac and I’m loving every blessed word. Anita Brookner, where have you been all my life? I plan on finishing this week and sharing my thoughts.
I know its folly to tackle unwieldy books when there are kiddos afoot, but I’m going to do it anyway. My next read will be Margaret George’s latest Elizabeth I: A Novel. It is a library book, so hopefully that will light a fire under my ass to get it read in the next two weeks.