Milley Edna 1892 - 1950 (58)

What should I be but just what I am?


Love is Not All

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink

Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;

Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink

And rise and sink and rise and sink again;

Edna Vincent Milley (February 22, 1892 - October 19, 1950) was an American poet. She was born in Maine's Rockland, her mother was a nurse, her father a teacher. Her parents divorced in 1904, and her mother took the three daughters and wandered in various American cities in homes of relatives and friends trying to survive with meager financial means. Despite their poverty, the mother had books by classical writers who never stopped reading to her daughters. Eventually they came to the house of an aunt in Camden. Edna went to school and published her first poems in the high school newspaper. In 1912 the poem "Renaissance" was distinguished and she became known not only for her poetry but also for her unconventional and bohemian behavior.

She had relationships both with men and women; she was taking drugs and was drinking excessively, at the same time she wrote poems with great success. In 1923 she became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize. She also wrote plays and took part in the feminist movement. In 1940, she wrote some poems in favor of the US military engagement in the Second World War, for which she suffered major attacks, accused of being warlike. In 1943 she was honored with the Frost Medal for her contribution to American poetry. On 19 October 1950 she was found dead at the bottom of her house ladder. The cause of the fall has never been known.