"I wondered if Edna Saint Vincent Millay was a man or a woman"
Edna Millay
Public DomainEdna Millay - Credit: United States Library of Congress

  Edna Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was not only a woman but also the first one ever to win a Pullitzer prize for her poetry. Born in Maine, she was raised by her mother, the independent and literature-loving nurse Cora Lounella. Lounella divorced Edna's father on grounds of financial irresponsibility when Edna was a young girl, and the family moved from town to town. Millay attained great respect and fame for her poems at a young age, and also some notoriety for her unconventional love life.

 

Afternoon on the Hill

I will be the gladdest thing/ Under the sun!/ I will touch a hundred flowers/ And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds/ With quiet eyes,/ Watch the wind blow down the grass,/ And the grass rise.

And when the lights begin to show/ Up from the town, /  I will mark which must be mine/ And then start down!