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High school library named for Millay

Important poet was Camden High School graduate
By Daniel Dunkle | Jan 21, 2020
Courtesy of: Camden Hills Regional High School A rendition of what the Camden Hills Regional High School library will look like with its new sign, named for poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Rockport — The Camden Hills Regional High School library has a new name that honors and brings attention to one of its accomplished graduates.

The school board voted unanimously to name the library the Edna St. Vincent Millay Library, according to English teacher Jennifer Munson.

Munson noted that earlier in the year, someone brought in an old baseball team picture for the school, but was uncertain of the date. Munson started doing some research, looking through old yearbooks and found the 1909 Commencement Yearbook.

Inside were two poems by Millay.

“I got so excited,” she said. “I felt like Indiana Jones making a big discovery. That day, we had a staff meeting and I shared my discovery, and we decided to form a committee, which became the Yay Millay Committee, which consists of several fellow teachers, Sara Cole-Pardun, Carolyn Brown, Mary Wells, and Iris Eichenlaub, several students, and Hannah Wells and Mary Orear from the Millay House.”

The committee's goal was to bring Millay back to the attention of the school and community. Naming the library for her was one step.

“We are also working on gathering all her writings from the Megunticook (the school literary magazine and yearbook) for publication, reinstating the Edna St. Vincent Millay Scholarship, installing a permanent art piece in the library and planning a dedication event on May 14,” Munson said. “The event is still in the planning stages, but we are hoping to have students recite her works, live music, and several displays in the library itself.”

Millay was born in a duplex in Rockland in 1892.

She grew up in Camden, where she was discovered as a literary voice following the publication of her seminal poem, "Renascence."

The poem famously describes the scene from the top of Mount Battie: "All I could see from where I stood, Was three long mountains and a wood; I turned and looked another way, And saw three islands in a bay."

She would later live in New York's Greenwich Village, where she was an actress as well as a writer. She was politically active, willing to take on unpopular topics in her work. She earned a reputation as a courageous feminist voice in an era dominated by male poets and writers. Millay's career included success as a public speaker, and she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923.

There has been a resurgence in interest in Millay with the restoration of her birth home in Rockland, the establishment of an annual Millay Festival in Rockland, and numerous books written about her. She remains relevant today.

Famed poet Edna St. Vincent Millay is pictured third from left in the front row of the class picture. She graduated from Camden High School in 1909. (Courtesy of: Library of Congress)
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Comments (2)
Posted by: TOWN OF THOMASTON | Jan 22, 2020 13:09

Congrats to Jen Munson and the Yay Millay Committee for pursuing this worthwhile honor to Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jan 22, 2020 12:14

Such great honors! Such a great poet deserving great honors!

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