I hope you are all well and keeping your spirits up as our country, and the world, faces one challenge after another. As difficult as this time is for all of us, it does give us the opportunity to reflect on our lives and beliefs, look for the good in ourselves and others, and reimagine our collective future.
In early 2020, The Millay Society was working with the New York Council for Nonprofits to identify and pursue new directions for Steepletop. With the pandemic, our partnership discussions are currently on hold but we look forward to resuming them as soon as possible. We remain optimistic about the work done thus far, while understanding that a significant partnership could take one to two years to shape, once it is underway. In the meantime, we continue to focus on our unwavering commitment to preserve the poet’s works and provide ongoing maintenance and protection of the Steepletop property.
Steepletop is closed but not dormant; we are doing what we can with limited resources in accordance with New York State restrictions. The restoration of Millay’s Writing Cabin will be completed this summer and ongoing maintenance of the buildings and gardens continues. We have embarked on an unexpected project this year, too – recovery from the ice storm in December that downed many large trees and caused the collapse of the new Pergola over the bar area in The Ruins. Plans to rebuild the Pergola are in process; thankfully, the western Bar was safe in storage and unharmed.
We understand that many of our supporters may not be able to continue to give in the face of today’s unprecedented challenges. If you are able to support The Society and Steepletop by making a gift at any level, it will be greatly appreciated. Because 2020 marks Steepletop’s 95th birthday, perhaps consider a gift of $95 to help celebrate this milestone? If you can make a gift of any amount, we will proudly add your name to our roster of 2020 Friends of Millay. Given our reduced administrative staff, we ask you make your donation online at millay.org. Giving information follows.
Due to NY COVID health and safety guidelines, we are unable to host our annual fundraising gathering at Steepletop this summer, which would have featured actors performing a dramatic reading of Millay’s poems and letters. To help fill the poetry inspiration gap, in April we launched the Millay Poetry Challenge; we invited people to video themselves reading, reciting, or performing a Millay poem for posting on our website and social media pages. To date we’ve received videos from across the globe, each one delivered with enthusiasm and heart. We’ve been delighted and encouraged by the response, which has reinforced our understanding of the power of Millay’s works, and how beautifully they continue to resonate and inspire. You can view the videos (or answer the challenge) on our website at Poetry Challenge.
Please take up the Challenge and submit your own favorite Millay poem!
In closing, please enjoy this unpublished poem Millay wrote about one of spring’s least welcome visitors!
Of all the weeds that’s round about,
The gentle poison ivy
Is the most not-to-be-wiped-out,
Ubiquitous and thrivy,
You fill a decent weed with loathing,
You ornery wolf in woodbine‘s clothing!
Vincent Elizabeth Barnett
How To Donate
The preferred way for making a donation is through our website Donate page. Our online donations are processed through PayPal so you may choose to use an existing Paypal account or a credit card; both methods are secure. You may also transfer money from your bank account using a service such as ZELLE, or an independent service such as VENMO. If you choose one of these methods, please use our email address to send the funds to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re not comfortable with any of these methods, you may send a check to our address at the bottom of this page. It may take a bit longer than usual to process mailed-in donations.
There is a new partial above-the-line deduction for cash contributions up to $300 for those people who are not itemizing their deductions. The CARES Act has also temporarily modified the itemized deduction for 2020 to 100% (up from 60% in the past). You will also be able to carry forward to future years any amount that is not offset in 2020.