‘Please give me some good advice in your next letter. I promise not to follow it.’
It is 19th October 1950, at Steepletop, a remote farmhouse in the pinewoods of upstate New York. Through the early hours of the morning, Edna St Vincent Millay drinks and reminisces, sharing the extraordinary highs and lows of her tumultuous life.
The first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, she was an icon for Dorothy Parker and the Greenwich Village set in 1920s New York, an accomplished pianist, a translator of French and Latin verse, a political activist, a drug addict and an alcoholic. Openly bisexual, her poetry celebrated women’s sexuality with a new freedom that brought her fame and notoriety.
What Byron was to 19th century England, Vincent was to 20th century America – the embodiment of genius, passion and scandal.
‘Be not discountenanced if the knowing know,
We rose from rapture but an hour ago.’
Interspersed with excerpts from her poetry and letters, Wild as The White Waves is an intimate, witty and moving encounter with a remarkable woman who resonates as powerfully today as she did in her own lifetime.
‘I will put chaos into fourteen lines and keep him there.’
The inspiration for this play and its research and development was a journey as interesting as Vincent herself. Sue McCormick will be in the theatre bar after the show for those who would like to hear the fascinating story of her adventures in poetry.