For my third "Dewey's Book" I read "Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay" by Nancy Milford. Dewey's review of this book was cursory,
"Milford spent 30 years writing this biography of the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Millay’s life was notoriously “bohemian,” shocking for the time, but her strongest loyalties were to her writing, her mother and her sisters."
I really chose to read this book because one of my very favorite poems, Recuerdo
, is by Millay. The second verse:
We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.
I have to confess though, despite being a fan of Millay, I didn't make it all the way through the book. It wasn't that the story was uninteresting, it was just that Milford is incredibly thorough--too much so for my liking. I got a little over half way, and then got impatient and skipped to the last chapter.
Keeping that in mind, I think Dewey's summary of the book is accurate, but I would add that I was amazed at how sure Millay was of herself. Writing from such a young age, and being so positive that that's what she just had to do....that kind of sense of purpose is mind-boggling to me. I think I'd like to find a less tedious biography of Millay and try to get all the way through it.