Second April by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1921) – Full text

For Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1921 proved to be the year she broke through. A Few Figs from Thistles, her first major collection after Renascence and Other Poems (1917), explored, among other themes, love and female sexuality. It was soon followed by Second April, also published in 1921. 

Second April, which is in the public domain, is presented here in full. The poems dealt with love, heartbreak, nature, and death. These 1921 publications catapulted her to superstar status, something rarely achieved by a poet, before or since.

Throughout the 1920s — call them The Roaring Twenties or the Jazz Age — Vincent, as she was known by those closest to her, recited to enthusiastic, sold-out crowds during her many reading tours at home and abroad. Read More→

Categories: Full Texts of Classic Works, Poetry Comments: (0)

The Early Poetry of Gabriela Mistral (Lucila Godoy Alcayaga)

Born in poverty, Lucila Godoy Alcayaga could never have predicted the lofty global reputation she would achieve as the Nobel Prize-winning poet Gabriela Mistral (1889–1957). Presented here are several of Gabriela Mistral’s early poems that appeared in regional Chilean publications, primarily from 1905 and 1908, when she was in her teens.

Though there was a gap in her published poetry from 1906 to 1907, she continued to write, contributing prose pieces to local publications, particularly La Serena.

These poems presented here in are in Spanish only, as it’s unclear whether they have ever been professionally translated into English or other languages until now. Perhaps someone will discover them and undertake this worthy task.

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The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1922)-full text

1923 was a banner year for Edna St. Vincent Millay. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her fourth volume of poems, The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems (published in 1922).

She was only the second person to receive a Pulitzer for poetry, and the first woman to win the prize. Following is the full text of this collection.

That year, Vincent also embarked on an unconventional marriage with Eugen Jan Boissevain. The handsome Dutch importer was a kindhearted man twelve years her senior, and she married him when, as her erstwhile lover Edmund Wilson saw it, “she was tired of breaking hearts and spreading havoc.” Read More→

Categories: Full Texts of Classic Works, Poetry Comments: (0)

Early Poems by Alice Dunbar-Nelson (from Violets and Other Tales)

Alice Dunbar-Nelson (1875 – 1935; also known as Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson) was a poet, short story writer, essayist, and journalist associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Presented here are poems from Violets and Other Tales (1895), her first collection, when she was still Alice Ruth Moore, her original name.

Published when she was just twenty, Violets and Other Tales includes short stories interspersed with the poems. Some of this early work hints at feminism and social justice, in a preview of the kind of writing that would become her hallmark.

Dunbar-Nelson would later become at least as well known for her short stories and searingly honest essays as for her poetry, if not more so. More of her short stories, which have come to be known as the Creole stories, have recently come to light.

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“Wilder, Eve” – Else Lasker–Schüler’s Vision of Woman in Eden

Along with Nelly Sachs and Paul Celan, Else Lasker-Schüler (1869 – 1945) was one of the most important German-Jewish poets of the twentieth century. And along with August Stramm and Georg Trakl, she was one of the most important early German expressionist poets.

This look at one of her best-known works is adapted from the forthcoming Wilder, Eve, Some Early Poems of Else Lasker-Schüler, translated by Francis Booth. Reprinted by permission.

Born Elizabeth Schüler into a middle-class banking family in what is now Wuppertal, Germany in 1869, she began writing poetry very early, imagining herself as a child living in the Orient, a fantasy that persisted throughout her life. Read More→

Categories: Francis Booth, Literary Analyses, Poetry Comments: (0)