ROCKLAND/CAMDEN — On Tuesday, Aug. 24, at noon, the Farnsworth Art Museum will present a special program honoring 2021 Woman of Vision Edna St. Vincent Millay. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the top of Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park, 280 Belfast Road, and features a recital by Camden Hills High School students of Millay’s poem “Renascence.”  The Pulitzer Prize winning poet was born in Rockland and raised in Camden.

It was in 1911 that Edna St. Vincent Millay entered the long poem “Renascence” — 107 rhyming couplets describing a life-altering spiritual awakening — in a poetry contest under the name “E. Vincent Millay.”  Though the poem didn’t win, she recited “Renascence” that summer to guests at Camden’s Whitehall Inn. One guest, Caroline Dow, the head of the YWCA National Training School in New York, was so struck by the poem that she helped raise funds for Millay’s education at Vassar College.

During the event, Jennifer Munson, an English teacher at Camden Hills Regional High School, will talk about Millay’s life in Camden, and several students from Camden Hills, Millay’s Alma mater, will recite her poem “Renascence.”  Munson has done extensive research on Millay’s childhood writings, and has uncovered new material.

“Millay grew up as an outsider in many ways,” said Munson. “In her youth, Millay was desperately poor. Her mother worked as a traveling nurse, which took her away from home for days, sometimes weeks. Her father abandoned the family. But many of her conflicts centered on her identity. She wanted to be called Vincent, never Edna. And in her early poetry, which she wrote in high school, she clearly demonstrates her bisexual identity.”

”She is a powerful example of living your true self,” Munson continues, “because that is what she always did. She was authentically herself — a creative, educated, openly bisexual woman, who went by a name of her choosing 100 years ago.”

Parking will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no charge for the event, and registration is not required, however, park admission is required. Admission is free for Maine resident seniors 65 and older, and children under 5. Admission is $1 for children 5-11 years old. Admission is $4 for Maine resident adults, $6 for non-resident adults, and $2 for non-resident seniors. For more information about this event, please visit the Farnsworth’s website at farnsworthmuseum.org.