Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Poetry Month

First Fig: Edna St. Vincent Millay in the Village


The house is for sale again, apparently — One of the most famous in Greenwich Village, 75 1/2 Bedford Street, otherwise known as the skinniest house in New York.

Formerly, it was the home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. Her birthday is February 22.

Perhaps Millay's fate was to live in the Village. How many people are named after a hospital, after all? Born in Maine, she was named for the Village institution that saved her uncle's life.

In later life, Millay lived in upstate New York — in Austerlitz, at Steepletop, which is preserved in her memory.

Three hundred and sixty-five of her poems are available from Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, but here are two samples of her work.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, Digital ID th-36128, New York Public LibraryThis appears etched on the wall of the Manhattan terminal of the Staten Island Ferry:

We were very tired, we were very merry —
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.


But her best known poem is:

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.

   "First Fig"


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

February 17, 2012 Edna St.

February 17, 2012 Edna St. Vincent MIllay was truly blessed. What a gorgeous house! The garden too is wonderful. If I were rich I would try to buy it! Best wishes!

Edna St. Vincent Millay in the Village

I just "happened" onto this page. What a delight! Ms Millay is one of my best-loved poets. I would love to get a glimpse of her life in both of her houses. (I'll put that wish on my to-do list!)

Post new comment