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Edna St. Vincent Millay

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E.S.V. Millay's Renascence butchered on the web
Added by: Jim Keller
To all serious students and poetry, and admirers of Edna St. Vincent Millay's

I was looking for a copy of Renascence to send to friends and first found it on Bartleby.com

There I discovered that most (but not all) of the stanza breaks were missing, so lots of verses are all just mushed together in one big verse -- which seriously detracts from one of the most important poems (by one of the most important poets) of the 20th Century.

So I started to go to other poetry websites and found that the mistakes have been faithfully transcribed into the versions on many (but not all) sites -- Plagiarist.com is one of the few to have a correct version -- and Bartleby is, in fact, often cited as the source by the sites with the bowdlerized presentation.

I e-mailed Bartleby, but also wanted to alert others to try and get what I consider to be a grievous error corrected.

Let me know how I -- or any of you -- can help solve this problem.

To summarize:

The poem is Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Renascence" found on:


The mistakes are not putting in a number of important stanza breaks i.e., after the first 10 lines -- and after lines 16, 20, 28, 44, 56, 62, 68, 72, 76, 82, 130, 140, 156, 164 and 180.

My source is Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Collected Lyrics," Washington Square Press, 1959, which I have right in front of me as I write. One or two of these may be page breaks and not verse breaks, but I'm certain about most of them...

...The version on this web site doesn't have line counters, so I'll accept it as correct if I'm wrong about any of the above.

Also, the first word should be "All" and not "ALL."

Jim Keller
Added by: allycat
I decided to take a look at what kind of poem would win one critical acclaim and a scholarship to Vassar. Upon reading renacence, I thought perhaps I had clicked on the wrong poem. Ren. is trite, the rhyme scheme is overused and the theme is one that recurs in every teenage girls diary. PUH-lease. Her later works are, predictably, better.
Easy for you to say?
Added by: Jim Keller
Gee, let's assume for a moment that "allycat" was raised in a poor broken family in a rural town at the turn of the twentieth century with no formal literary education other than the poems her mother would read to her (and certainly no mass media, internet, cosmopolitan exposure, etc.).

And that she had no mentor nor an editor when she submitted this poem, handwritten if I recall my reading of her biography correctly, to a contest from nowhere, Maine.

And then let's see her post the fantastic untrite visions she's created in her life by that point that gives her such gist for scorn.

I'm a performing poet, and given that it was Millay who drove me to become a poet and so changed my life forever -- thru this "trite" piece, I occasionally recite it in my shows. And yes, I take the liberty of editing it down about 30%, and yes I cut out some the rhyming lines and the poem does strengthen as a result.

But the piece always gets a fantastic reaction, even from a crowd of sophisticated working poets.

Somehow I believe Vincent will be changing lives long after allycat has run out of "puh-leezes" (now there's some original phraseology).
About the poem
Added by: Roseanne
The poem renescence was a good poem, the good journy was in there, I was looking about the inter pretation about renescence but I cannot find it, I wish it would be there the interpretation.

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