Book Report: Mine the Harvest by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1954)

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sister Norma published this book after Ms. Millay died, so its works contain a gamut of the good to the filler material selected from the poet’s incomplete or unpublished work. Oddly, the linked Amazon listing says that the first edition is 1949; however, the stated first edition I have has a 1954 copyright. Perhaps Norma was just planning ahead.

I paid $10 for this stated first edition at Hooked on Books in Springfield, and it’s a former library book. That said, perhaps it’s only worth ten bucks to me, but I’ve enjoyed Ms. Millay’s work since college. Actually, in college I read a great deal of her work and her biographies and whatnot. Early in our relationship, I gave Heather a collection of Millay’s sonnets. So let’s just establish that I am somewhat biased.

In this volume, Millay’s thoughts muse more on death than on love, partially accountable to her advancing age and partially accountable, I would expect, to her sister’s selection for poignancy. But Millay can still turn a phrase, and the poems within this volume which are not incisive nor insightful are tolerable, which puts her in an upper league on merely that account. A couple of memorable lines in decent poems scream for quotation, and I’ll reread the book in the future and will enjoy it then, too.

So it’s probably worth the ten dollars even though I never attended Albernathy High School nor used its library. It’s mine now.

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