For this early spring 2022 edition, I chose Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Why I picked her: You might be thinking, “Matteson, you’re a fantasy writer—what’s up with the poetry recommendation?” I’m guessing that it won’t surprise you to hear that I love words—I am a writer after all. And the thing I love about poetry is the way that poets can put together the most unusual and delicious combinations of words to evoke all sorts of images and feelings in the reader’s brain. One of my favorite poets is Edna St. Vincent Millay.
A Pulitzer-Prize winner, Millay was a master of the sonnet (a poetry form I now particularly enjoy because of reading her work). As if that wasn’t impressive enough, she also wrote articles, plays, and even an opera. She even founded an experimental theater.
Poems I recommend you start with: The poem that got me hooked on her writing is her sonnet “What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, and Where, and Why.”
I also adore the short and sweet “First Fig”—given the frenetic pace of our daily lives, I think that the poem applies to modern life as much or more now than when she published it in 1920:
“My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!”
And what about you? Do you have a favorite poet or poem? Let me know in the comments! I’m always looking for new poems and poets to love.