Festival Overview

Vincent, as Millay preferred to be called in her youth, was born in Rockland in 1892. First and foremost a poet, she was also a musician, singer, actress, playwright, librettist, activist and feminist. It is time that her birthplace, Rockland, known for its celebration of the arts, bring diverse artistic audiences together under the aegis of Millay. To that end, the Millay Arts and Poetry Festival will feature art, and theatre, and music as well as poets and poetry. Come for what you know, and cross over into another creative realm to experience what artists can produce when given the challenge of responding to the complex person known as Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Nancy Milford will be the first of our distinguished speakers, delivering the festival’s keynote address, followed by a book signing of “Savage Beauty.” Richard Blanco, 2013 presidential inaugural poet, will speak of Millay, her place in the pantheon of American and world poets, and he will also read from his works. We are honored to have Tracy K. Smith, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (2012) and our newly appointed national poet laureate as our final presenter. She will speak of the remarkable and often unimagined power of poetry to express our essence, explain our world, and heal our wounds. She, too, will read from her works and sign books.

We are very pleased to present the first of Millay House Rockland’s commissioned, original pieces inspired by Millay. “Vincent,” by Rockland playwright Alva Hascall, will have its premier during the festival. New York actress Sarah MacDonnell will play Vincent, and the DaPonte String Quartet (DSQ) will be onstage as collaborative performers.

MacDonnell and the DaPonte String Quartet will also be performing in a Poetry Concert at Harbor Square Gallery, which includes the poetry of Millay, given voice by the actress, with musical responses from the quartet. In Good Company will cater a reception following the Concert.

Visual arts make an appearance as Harbor Square Gallery has invited artists to create works inspired by Edna St. Vincent Millay. This exhibit will coincide with the Poetry Concert and reception.

For those fascinated by Millay’s life, there will be a prestigious gathering of Millay scholars and biographers in a roundtable forum to discuss the life of the poetic enchantress known as Vincent. Carl Little will moderate and propel the discussion. Participants include:

Nancy Milford, author of “Savage Beauty”
Daniel Mark Epstein, author of “What Lips My Lips Have Kissed”
Jerri Dell, author of “Blood Too Bright”
Krystyna Poray Goddu, author of “A Girl Named Vincent”
Holly Peppe, scholar, editor, and literary executor for Edna St. Vincent Millay.

The Edna Project will again give musical life to the poetry of Vincent, with poems set to music composed by lead singer Liz Queler and her co-composer Seth Farber.

Rounding out the three day Festival will be poetry jams, open mics, a smartphone created live poetry event, formalized readings by Maine poets, a gala reception, additional writers’ workshops, symposiums, panel discussions, and maybe even a special brew inspired by and named for Vincent!

Three days, 35 events, 80 participants. All of these events have limited seating, so there are a limited number of tickets available. Purchase your Festival Pass and, please, join us in lovely downtown Rockland, “The Arts Capitol of Maine!”

For more detailed information about the events and performers, please see our Schedule.

A Special Lodging Offer for Festival Patrons. . .

The historic Whitehall in Camden is pleased to partner with Millay House Rockland to offer Festival Pass purchasers a 15% discount on lodging for the duration of the Festival. Whitehall is the place where Edna St. Vincent Millay began her assault on the world stage.  Coerced by her sister Norma into attending an end of season party, Vincent recited her already award winning poem “Renascence” to the rapt attendees.  The rest, as they say, is history.  That chance encounter led her to New York City, Vassar, and an illustrious life and career that has been seldom equaled. Whitehall has maintained the storied “music room” where it all began, and the same piano where Vincent sat to recite is still there.  It is a thrill to sit at that piano, gaze out through the archway into the lounge and imagine Miss Caroline B. Dow striding towards you, armed with the means to change your life.

Once you purchase your Festival Passes, follow the link to Whitehall to book your stay for the Festival.  If you are in need of shuttle service to Rockland, please notify the hotel at booking and they will help to arrange services. The 15% discount will be offered on a first-come first-serve basis until availability runs out

September 7, 8, 9, 2017

Special Event for Millay House Rockland featuring The DaPonte String Quartet

a Poetry Concert
Saturday, September, 9 at 4:30pm

Join us for a remarkable opportunity to experience the words of Millay, the music of The DaPonte String Quartet, and Millay inspired visual art in one of the most beautiful galleries in Rockland.

Thomas O’Donovan of Harbor Square Gallery has invited artists to produce Millay inspired works for the festival, and they will be on display during the Poetry Concert. Sarah MacDonnell, who is playing Millay in the new stage piece, “Vincent,” will read Millay poems in antiphonal conversation with music programmed and performed by the Quartet. A marvelous “poetry concert” in a marvelous space. A reception will follow, and with food and drink in hand, we will move to the roof top Muir Sculpture Garden for a September sunset. Millay, DaPonte, fabulous art, Harbor Square Gallery, a Maine September sunset. . . What could be better?


Our Festival Colleagues

In Good Company

In Good Company

Our Collaborative Partners


Festival Media Sponsors

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