The 80th anniversary of the Sanibel-Edna St. Vincent Millay fire nearly slipped right past me. It was a hotel inferno that destroyed the only copy of one of Millay’s long verse poems and also a 17th century poetry collection written by an ancient Roman.
But in a bit of fortuitous and downright serendipitous timing the book I’m reading now, “The Brazen Age,” includes passing references to the famous poet. Or, as she was known before the middle of the 20th century – poetess.
Reading this book about bohemians and artists in New York City clicked the historical tumblers into gear in my somewhat addled mind. Ah, yes, I wrote about Millay once, back when I worked for The Fort Myers News-Press. It was one of those local history stories I loved to find and write for the paper.
Not many people today know about Edna St. Vincent Millay, who was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for poetry. That was in 1923, when Prohibition ruled and nearly ruined the country.