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Special Event

Daniel Mark Epstein, Rapture and Melancholy: The Diaries of Edna St. Vincent Millay, with dramatic readings

Tuesday, April 4, 2023 - 6:00 PM | Members' Room | open to the public | $15 per person | registration required

The English author Thomas Hardy proclaimed that America had two great attractions: the skyscraper, and the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay. In these diaries the great American poet illuminates not only her literary genius, but her life as a devoted daughter, sister, wife, and public heroine; and finally as a solitary, tragic figure.

This is the first publication of the diaries she kept from adolescence until middle age, between 1907 and 1949, focused on her most productive years. Who was the girl who wrote “Renascence,” that marvel of early twentieth-century poetry? What trauma or spiritual journey inspired the poem? And after such celebrity why did she vanish into near seclusion after 1940? These questions hover over the life and work, and trouble biographers and readers alike. Intimate, eloquent, these confessions and keen observations provide the key to understanding Millay’s journey from small-town obscurity to world fame, and the tragedy of her demise.

In the Times Literary Supplement, Lucy McDiarmid writes, “The poet’s account of her life is raw, intense and rich in detail, supplementing the poems with another kind of first-person voice.”

Daniel Mark Epstein is a poet, dramatist, and biographer, and a recipient of awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His books include What Lips My Lips Have Kissed: The Loves and Love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay and volumes about Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, and Bob Dylan, as well as Dawn to Twilight: New and Selected Poems. His collected poems, Constellations, will be published in 2025.

Andrea Terrasa is a bilingual actress based in NYC. Her work ranges across stage and screen from her comedic TV appearances in skits with Trevor Noah for The Daily Show to her work as a member of the Ikarus Stage Arts Company & Nordisk Nido Lab in Denmark. Andrea has trained and performed across the U.S., U.K., Hungary, Austria, and other parts of Europe. www.AndreaTerrasa.com

This event is generously underwritten by the Lyn Chase Poetry Fund.