Elisa New discusses Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnets on Poem Talk

Cover for the event, Poem Talk, showing 3 speech bubbles.

Poetry in America host Elisa New joined Al Filreis’s Poem Talk podcast on May 14th. New joined guests Jane Malcolm and Sophia DuRose to discuss Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnets, “Love is Not All” and “I shall forget you presently, my dear.”

From top left, clockwise: Sophia DuRose, Jane Malcolm, Al Filreis, and Elisa New

The episode considers how Millay adapted one of the most constrained, traditional of forms—the Shakespearean sonnet—to suit the modern, liberal sensibilities emerging in the early 1930s. In lieu of metaphysical love, Millay took sex and biology as the sonnets’ new subjects. As Elisa New says of Millay’s poetry in the episode: “it’s just withering, it’s so caustic … it’s so radical.”

Listen to the Episode