Reprinted from The Writers Almanac
It’s the birthday of the woman who wrote “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!” Edna St. Vincent Millay, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, was born on this day in 1892 in Rockland, Maine.
After being educated at Vassar, she moved to Greenwich Village and lived a Jazz Age Bohemian life, which revolved around poetry and love affairs. She was beautiful and alluring and many men and women fell in love with her. Critic Edmund Wilson asked her to marry him. She said no. He later reflected that falling in love with her “was so common an experience, so almost inevitable a consequence of knowing her in those days.”
She wrote: “Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand: / Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!”