cover image A Girl Called Vincent: The Life of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay

A Girl Called Vincent: The Life of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay

Krystyna Poray Goddu. Chicago Review (IPG, dist.), $18.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-61373-172-7

An obvious labor of love, Goddu's biography of irrepressible poet Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892%E2%80%931950) strikes a fine balance between academic presentation and devoted characterization of a life well lived. From the early description of Millay's home life%E2%80%94including the trials and tribulations of being a child loosely supervised, along with her two younger sisters%E2%80%94through brief explorations of Millay's impact on the sociological feminist paradigm shift in the 1920s, Goddu, a PW contributor, moves briskly from one major life event to the next. Myriad archival photographs, snippets of Millay's verse, and accompanying descriptions offer additional insight into the era in which Millay lived, as well as a young woman "by turn gay and grave, pompous and flippant," who clearly felt that rules were for other people. Overall, Millay is painted as a brilliant narcissist whose literary contributions continue to influence generations of readers. Source notes and other resources round out a biography that, while accessible to the target audience, has plenty to offer older readers as well. Ages 9%E2%80%93up. Agent: Jennifer Unter, Unter Agency. (Apr.)