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November 24, 1928

Under the auspices of the Vassar Cooperative Bookshop, Edna St. Vincent Millay ’17 read, before a large audience, from both her published and unpublished work in the Students’ Building. Reading “Passer Mortuus Est,” from Second April (1921), Millay noted that it was written while she was a student and that, according to The Miscellany News, it was “influenced by her study of Catullus.” “The Ballad of the Harp Weaver,” the Misc. reviewer continued, “stirred the audience through its effective rhythms and its moving simplicity, beautifully expressed in Miss Millay’s reading.” “Memorial to D. C,” five elegies written also at Vassar in memory of Millay’s close friend, Dorothy Coleman ’18, who died in 1918 during the ‘flu epidemic, was read “with an intensity of feeling which gave a sense of their significance.” And the reviewer found Millay’s complex sound-poem, “Counting-out Rhyme—‘Silver bark of beech, and sallow/ Bark of yellow birch and yellow/ Twig of willow….—’a fascinating experiment in the combination of words for sheer loveliness of sound, and in the use of a sort of assonance instead of rhyme.”

Informally, Millay commented on “changes which she noticed on her return to Vassar, particularly the passing of the nightly rush to Chapel.” Compulsory chapel attendance, a dreaded daily event in Millay’s day, was discontinued in November, 1926.

The Years