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Wild Swans Summary
Edna St. Vincent Millay

Everything you need to understand or teach Wild Swans by Edna St. Vincent Millay.

  • Wild Swans Summary & Study Guide

Wild Swans Summary


In 1921, two volumes of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry were published in New York: A Few Figs from Thistles and Second April. The latter contains many poems about Millay's romantic disappointments and heartbreaks. These poems are sometimes passionate and sometimes subdued, but they are all intensely personal. Scholars often comment that Millay's poetry is feminine in its focus on emotions, but it also breaks from the feminine tradition in its raw honesty. "Wild Swans," which appears in Second April, is a good example of this phenomenon. The speaker expresses traditionally feminine feelings of heartache and despair, but she is less traditional in that she is harsh toward her own heart. Although she focuses on her feelings, she seeks a solution to her emotional upheaval by escaping domesticity.

In only eight lines, Millay describes an episode in which the speaker recalls observing the flight of wild swans and then longs...

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