Through scattered letters distributed amongst the stage and audience and an unconventional take on Edna St. Vincent Millay's life, Jasmine Cronin '04 enlightened the Wish Theater audience on Sunday afternoon as to the exact nature of "Vincent's" poetry. As Cronin stated in her one-woman performance, "To ignore that her poetry was entwined with her libido is to miss the point."

Cronin originally considered Millay as an independent study piece thanks to the Curtis Library in Brunswick. "They were looking for someone to do a theater piece on her, in honor of their 'Millay Month' celebration," she said. "During my initial research, I became fascinated with her brilliant, passionate poetry and the way she lived her life so freely." Before performing for the Bowdoin audience, Cronin staged Vincent at the birth of her inspiration, the library.

Cronin's performance art piece consisted of a sparse stage, with only a couch and a desk to present the writer's life through her letters. Cronin pulled out letters from all sorts of spots, including the hands of a few audience members, her shoe, several jars and drawers, and her garter. Through these letters, Cronin conveyed Vincent's free spirit and belief that she expressed in one of her letters: "One must be undiscerning of being afraid to only love one person, for there are so many noble and gracious spirits in the world!"

It is surprising to think that Vincent stated this idea in the 1920s, a time when her free love and open marriage was not acceptable or commonplace. Cronin shares Vincent's outlook as a Twenty-First Century woman. "Like Vincent, I believe that you can have meaningful connections and relationships with a variety of people at any given time and still be happy," she said. "Every one of your relationships is different and unique, and should be able to stand and exist independently without negatively affecting or influencing your other current relationships."

When asked if she related to Vincent's poetry as well as her life outlook, Cronin responded by citing the poem, "O, Think I Am Not Faithful," which further expresses Vincent's emphasis on free love. Cronin also added the interesting detail that Vincent had remained committed to her only husband, Eugen Boissevain, throughout her life. Though both had other lovers, Boissevain accepted Vincent's lifestyle and they remained married until Boissevain's death in 1949, less than a year before Vincent died.

Cronin feels that "O, Think I Am Not Faithful" means "maybe there is not just one person that can engage and stimulate us on every level for the rest of our lives. This poem really speaks to me on the level that people should spend their time developing themselves as complete, whole individuals, and while they're doing that, enjoy the wonderful qualities of others, and make sure to never compromise and conflate [their] identity with anyone."

Through Cronin's performance, which she dubbed a "work-in-progress," she exposed the audience to another side of Edna St. Vincent Millay that many choose to ignore because of the fiery sexuality behind it. Thanks to Cronin, more people realize what Vincent meant by "burning the candle at both ends" and the true nature of the poetry that became a major part of the modern feminist movement.