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First Fig

First Fig

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

First Fig Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Eight-syllable stanza followed by a six-syllable stanza? Check. Iambic feet? Double check. Yup, what we've got on our hands is definitely a ballad.Before we get into nitty-gritty details, though, i...


Playful, flippant, and to-the-point, our speaker sure knows how to pack wallop. After all, you've got to combine a whole lot of qualities if you're going to manage to thumb your nose at metrical tr...


You can imagine Millay standing up at a party (probably on the table, and probably sometime around four in the morning) to bellow out this poem to an awe-struck audience. The poem itself doesn't gi...

Sound Check

Don't worry. In fact, breathe a sigh of relief. This is one poem that you can read aloud without any worry about how to pronounce things correctly or any trouble putting the emphasis on the wrong s...

What's Up With the Title?

Why call a poem about candles a "first fig"? That's a good question, since figs and candles aren't really often thought of as necessary couples like, say, Bert and Ernie—or Brangelina. There's on...

Calling Card

Edna St. Vincent Millay's poems have an unmistakable touch of the wild child, the party animal, the woman-about-town who just knows that she's the funniest and smartest person in the room. When the...


Short and sassy, easy on the eye and intriguing to the mind—all in all, this poem's a piece of cake. Perhaps more importantly, the "candle" remains a delightfully vague metaphor, so you can twist...


Talk about setting a high bar. Millay was a strapping 31 when she won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923. We know, that seems old, but in Pulitzer years, she's practically a toddler. (Source.)Want...

Steaminess Rating

"First Fig" is sort of like a Pixar film: sure, it's got dirty jokes, but only if you're adult enough to read into them. As we discuss in "Themes," this poem could easily be about Millay's bisexual...


The Bible (title)—Adam and Eve wear fig leaves. Why shouldn't Millay?"Burning the candle at both ends" (1) We bet you've heard that one before.

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