US Stamps

Born Feb. 22: Edna St. Vincent Millay

Feb 21, 2016, 10 PM
Edna St. Vincent Millay was honored on an 18¢ stamp in the American Poet series in 1981.

By Michael Baadke

Edna St. Vincent Millay, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, was born Feb. 22, 1892, in Rockland, Maine.

Millay “began writing verses as a child and gained attention as a young adult by voicing the spirit of rebellion and emancipation that marked the 1920s,” according to the United States Postal Service.

She attended Vassar College in New York’s Hudson Valley and found acclaim when her long poem Renascence was admired as part of a poetry competition. After graduating from college in 1913, Millay moved to New York City and continued to write poetry, plays, and magazine articles.

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She won the 1923 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, the first woman to do so, for her poetry collection, The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver: A Few Figs from Thistles: Eight Sonnets in American Poetry, 1922, A Miscellany.

She completed the libretto for the opera The King’s Henchman in 1927, and continued to write. She became quite famous and was recognized both as an accomplished poet and as a voice for feminism and political activism.

Millay died in 1950 at age 58, following a fall at her home.

She was honored on an 18¢ commemorative stamp issued July 10, 1981 (Scott 1926). It was the last of the seven poems in the 1970-81 American Poet commemorative series.