Edna St. Vincent Millay
Dear Gladys, To add to the good impression this early reply must give, I will proceed at once to answer your questions, (which you have probably forgotten you ever asked.)
In the first question, as you will perhaps perceive, are two unpardonable insults: “Couldn’t you write something decidedly immoral (!) and, provided the verse was lovely, (!!) be just as fond of it as you are of this? — that is of Renascence.”
“Couldn’t I write something decidedly immoral?” Certainly not, you shameless wench! “Provided the verse was lovely” — Gr-r-r-r!!! [Yip?] !! Wow!!!
Ah, Gladys Niles, you perfect dear! Yes, I could. Someday I probably will, and I shall be even fonder of it, I am sure. I love poetry in three different ways: — intellectually (the skillful rhymes of Browning and the clever satires of Pope); spiritually, (the Ode on Immortality and the wonderful psalms of the Old Test- ament) and sensuously, (Swinburne, and Browning’s love poems, and the sonnets of Shakespeare.) And this last love, a love of rhythm and color and music, is the most intense, which is the same as to say, — I am one part brain, one part soul, and three parts flesh and blood. That is the way with a great many people who wouldn’t admit it even themselves.
—Edna St. Vincent Millay