I simply can't write letters.
An Edna St. Vincent Millay Megamix
I simply can’t write letters. I have made a name for the disease from which I suffer: I have named it EPISTOPHOBIA. I haven’t written a letter all winter. I wish it were socially impossible to write a letter. I wish there were no post-office, no stamps, no facilities whatever for expediting the smug, intrusive, tedious letters that people write.
Edna St. Vincent Millay Letter to Witter Bynner 2 May 1935
Luckily Edna’s “epistophobia” was temporary. And thank god, because she really could write letters. Witty ones, loving ones, pensive ones, principled ones, anguished ones—enjoyable, all. In fact, in my humble opinion, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote letters as well as anyone and sits comfortably near the top of the pile. My copy of Letters of Edna St. Vincent Millay, a magnificent book edited by Allan MacDougall, published in 1952, and now, it seems, out-of-print (if true, a publishing crime), has more folded corners than any other book in my possession: on almost every page can be found a turn of phrase, sentence, paragraph, or entire letter, of note. Below, because I like you, are some of my favourites…
Please give me some good advice in your next letter. I promise not to follow it.
Edna St. Vincent Millay Letter to Arthur Ficke 6 Mar 1913
I am not a child in love with you, to be patted and sent away, or to be scolded and shaken. I am an almost reasonable human being, who has not spoken to anyone for a long time.
People fall in love with me, and annoy me and distress me and flatter me and excite me and—and all that sort of thing. But no one speaks to me. I sometimes think that no one can. Can you?
Edna St. Vincent Millay Letter to Arthur Hooley 31 Jul 1915