USF Book Club: Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay

Howdy everyone! The Book Club will read and discuss Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay for December. We will meet on December 9, 2011 in Room 139 of Gleeson Library from 12-1 pm.

Gleeson has a copy of Savage Beauty that you can request, but it will probably go fast so your alternatives are requesting it through Link+, getting it from the SF Public Library, or reading it on one of our iPads or our Kindle.

Millay is one of my personal role models… she was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and in her day, she achieved the level of celebrity now reserved for movie stars and reality show idiot savants. She was an anti-war activist and led a unconventional love life. I can only imagine how much better the U.S. would be if we celebritized our poets the way we do those in the entertainment industry.

One thing that boosted her to this level of celebrity was her spellbinding performances. She did a lot of radio broadcasts and reading tours in support of her work, and her thick, lustrous voice and classic early 20th century North East accent bewitched all those who tuned in.

Appropriate for the spirit of Christmas we are approaching, here is an old radio recording of Millay reading her poem “Ballad of the Harpweaver” in the Christmas edition of Anthology.

And my personal favorite… a classic

(Poem #34First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends--
It gives a lovely light!

— Edna St Vincent Millay

One thought on “USF Book Club: Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay”

  1. I’m no fan of reality television, but it might elevate us all a little bit to find a phrase to use here other than “idiot savants”.

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