March is “Music in Our Schools Month” so inspire, encourage, and motivate your students by putting Mozart Symphonies on in the background of your classroom to improve your students concentration and discipline.

This month our blog and radio show celebrates the life and work of Edna St. Vincent Millay, American poet, playwright, Pulitzer Prize winner and musician. The article of the month is “ 3 Ways To Deal With Toxic People” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM.

Radio Show Feature Question for March 2016: How did Classical Music play a part of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s life as an American poet, playwright, Pulitzer Prize winner and musician and what musical instrument did she play?


Our blog celebrates the life and work Edna St. Vincent Millay, American poet, playwright, Pulitzer Prize winner, musician, and composer

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born on Feb. 22, 1892 to Cora Lounella Buzelle and Henry Tolman Millay, in Rockland, Maine. She had two younger sisters, Norma and Kathleen.

“Family and friends” always called Edna St. Vincent Millay “Vincent”. Cora Millay’s brother was a sailor and was terribly injured at sea and they thought he would die. He was brought to St. Vincent Hospital where he recovered. Cora “was so happy she named her first baby for the hospital.” (“Poetry for Young People: Edna St. Vincent Millay” by E. V. Millay & N. Millay Ellis, 1982, p.4)

Edna’s father, Henry Millay was a teacher and an administrator. He “liked to gamble …and refused to quit.” He was also “abusive”. Cora divorced him “for financial irresponsibility” when Edna was 8 and Cora Millay “became a practical nurse in order to support herself and her three children.” (E. V. Millay & N. Millay Ellis, 1982, p.4)

Edna St. Vincent Millay’s mother, Cora Millay “was artistic, sang, played the piano, and loved to read”. (E. V. Millay & N. Millay Ellis, 1982, p.4)

D.M. Epstein in his biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay said, Cora Millay “had been writing all her life, poems and journals and stories.. that were never published.” (“What Lips My Lips Have Kissed: The Loves and love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay” by D. M. Epstein, 2001, p.12.)

Cora shared her love of books, music, and art with her daughters and taught them to be “independent”. She provided the best library of books in her home for her daughters to read. Books by Milton, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Keats, Coleridge, Shelley, and in Latin Caesar’s “Gallic Wars”.

Vincent practiced her piano every day to prepare “for public recitals”. Vincent wished to be a concert pianist. D. M. Epstein wrote in his biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Her hands were small, but she stretched them strenuously each day over the piano keys, praying they might grow.” (D. M. Epstein, 2001, p.13.)

For a time Cora and her children lived with her family. In 1901 Vincent, Norma and Kathleen, “ages nine, eight, and five –were stricken with typhoid fever…Their mother Cora’s skill in nursing” saved them. Later Cora found them a house to rent that was “neglected by the landlord, was brutally cold in winter.” Money was always very tight. (D. M. Epstein, 2001, pp.4-5.)

As a child Vincent was sick from “a cold or the grippe once a month”. (D.M. Epstein, 2001,p.12)

Cora Millay worked as a nurse for John Wheeler Tufts in 1905, “a famous musician”. She took her daughter with her and as Vincent, 13, waited for her Mom she went over to Tuft’s grand piano and played and sang “one of her musical compositions. Cora was embarrassed that Vincent had been so impolite but Tufts was delighted. He was so impressed that he insisted on giving her free lessons.” (“Poetry for Young People: Edna St. Vincent Millay” by E. V. Millay & N. Millay Ellis, 1982, p.5)

Years later Vincent went on to study piano with Mrs. Leila Bucklin French and would visit Professor Tufts who was blind to read to him.

When Cora was working Vincent was in charge of her younger sisters and taught them to do their chores by making up songs to do them by. They sang together at the piano. Money was always hard to come by but they had each other. The rental house was cold and drafty. “Edna later described her childhood as extraordinarily happy and said, “It never rained in those days.”

“From 1906 to 1910 her poems appeared in the famous children’s magazine St. Nicholas, and one of her prize poems was reprinted in a 1907 issue of Current Opinion.”

Robert L. Gale wrote, “Millay attended public high school, where she wrote for and served as editor in chief of the school magazine (1905-1909).”

In 1912, Cora urged Vincent, age 19, to enter her poem “Renascence” in “a national literary contest”. She sent her poem in as “E. St. Vincent Millay, Esq.” Vincent wanted them to assume a male had written it. Everyone who read her poem “Renascence” was “shocked that a young women from Maine, had written this “sophisticated, mature work”. Her poem did not win but “Renascence” was published in “The Lyric Year” with the top winners.

A school director, Caroline B. Dow, “heard Millay recite her poetry and play her own compositions for piano, determined that the talented young woman should go to college. .. Miss Dow’s promise to contribute to her expenses, Millay applied for scholarships to attend Vassar. After taking several courses at Barnard College in .. 1913, Millay enrolled at Vassar, where she … developed .. into a cultured and learned poet.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote to her mother, “You brought me up in the tradition of poetry, and everything I did you encouraged. I cannot remember once in my life when you were not interested in what I was working on, or even suggested that I should put it aside for something else. Some parents of children that are “different” have so much to reproach themselves with. But not you, Great Spirit.”

Vincent moved to New York City to Greenwich Village in 1917 to work “as an actress and writer”. She wrote for the Village paper a “column under” …..“another name”…. “about living in New York” to have money to eat and live. At night she wrote short stories, poems, and plays long into to the night, not eating properly, in a cold apartment. (“Poetry for Young People: Edna St. Vincent Millay” by E. V. Millay & N. Millay Ellis, 1982, p.6)

Vincent worked for “Vanity Fair” in Europe, 1921-1923, writing sketches under the name Nancy Boyd.

Edna St. Vincent Millay won her Pulitzer Prize in 1923 for her poem “The Ballad of the Harp Weaver” The story is a tribute to her mother, Cora Buzelle Millay who worked long hours as a nurse sacrificing to provide her family with “the gift of music and literature ”.

Karen Karbiener says in her article about Millay, “The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver” tells a story that Millay cherished above all others: the tale of a mother who sacrificed all for the sake of her family, and not only provided for them handsomely, but had left them with the precious gift of music,”

(Karen Karbiener, p.294, “This Is Mine, and I Can Hold It: Edna St. Vincent Millay And Her Music”)

Edna St. Vincent Millay reading her poem “The Ballad of the Harp Wheeler”:

By this time Edna St. Vincent Millay “had become a famous poet.” She attended “a party she didn’t want to attend” and met Eugen Boissevains, a “ wealthy businessman”. Eugen “believed men and women were equal. He said, “Anyone can buy and sell coffee, but anyone cannot write poetry.”

Boissevain realized “she was not well and insisted ..she go to a doctor.” The doctors determined she needed surgery but was not “strong enough for an operation. They were married in the hospital.” Eugen took “care of her” and when she was well they traveled “around the world.” (“Poetry for Young People: Edna St. Vincent Millay” by E. V. Millay & N. Millay Ellis, 1982, p.7)

Eugen managed his wife’s career arranging Vincent’s readings and appearances. Vincent Millay and Eugen Boissevain were married for 26 years. They purchased Steepletop in Austerlitz, New York, which became their home. They had concerts and rehearsals there before Tanglewood. For five years Vincent took piano lessons from pianist Blanche Bloch who said she “was musical”.

In 1927 Millay wrote the libretto for the American opera “The King’s Henchman” with music by Deems Taylor. The Metropolitan Opera premiered the opera on February 17, 1927.

Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote to a friend, “Without music I should wish to die.” …. Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote to Allan Ross MacDougall, “I find that I never lose Bach. I don’t know why I have always loved him so. Except that he is so pure, so relentless and incorruptible, like a principle of geometry.”

Edna wrote to her mother, “I seldom put my hands on the keys without remembering how you taught me,,, no one was ever more grateful for anything than I am to you for this beautiful gift you gave me, mother.” (To Cora Millay day after Thanksgiving 1929)

In 1943 the Poetry Society of America awarded Edna St. Vincent Millay “a gold medal”. She was as an American poet, playwright, Pulitzer Prize winner, and lifelong pianist. Edna St. Vincent Millay died on Oct. 19, 1950 at her home Steepletop in Austerlitz, NY. She was 58 years old.


“3 Ways To Deal With Toxic People!” By Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM

How do you deal with toxic people? When someone comes in your office demanding money for doing a job or angrily complains about something, how do you handle him or her?

The key to everything in life is to “respond” not to “react ” to the situation!

Recently I was at work when an angry contractor walked in dressed up as Darth Vader or the Grim Reaper, take your pick, demanding money for a job! I calmly looked him in the eye, listened to him vent, and waited patiently for him to wind down.

After he finished speaking, “I asked him for a signed invoice and purchase order, with the start date of the job agreed to by our General Manager (GM) and a final completion date (month, date, and year) signed by our GM that the job was completed satisfactorily. Include the before and after pictures of the job. Also I informed him that checks are paid in our accounting office every two weeks on Friday. This is our business’s policy”!

The contractor said, “I don’t have any of these documents and I want my money now!”

I replied calmly once again, “Bring in the necessary documents signed and dated by our GM with pictures and I will be happy to pay you for your work. Checks to contractors are paid in our accounting office every two weeks on Friday! This is our business’s policy”!

A few days later on a Friday the contractor brought in the necessary papers dated and signed by our GM with the necessary pictures. I said, “Your check will be ready for you next Friday.”

What are 3 ways to deal with toxic people?

1) Look them in the eye, and listen carefully as they vent. Do not interrupt or argue with them just listen until they wind down! By remaining calm you neutralize the difficult person and disarm them!

2) When they have finished speaking do not judge or accuse them.

Develop a solution with the steps for solving the problem. If the problem concerns an angry contractor, present your business’s policy.

After the difficult person or contractor leaves, write down the entire conversation you had with him or her and the time and date, (month, day, and year), with your solution to the problem, and put it in your file for your records!

At our business, our policy is to have a signed invoice and purchase order, with the start date of the job agreed to by our GM and a final completion date signed by our GM that the job was completed satisfactorily. We tell our contractors and venders when checks are paid in our accounting office!

What is your business’s policy for your contractors or vendors to be paid?

3) If the contractor is verbally abusive and tries to bully you walk away! You are no ones doormat!

Remember to respond to toxic people do not react to them! © 2016 Madeline Frank

Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at [email protected]

“The Secret of Teaching Science & Math Through Music” by Madeline Frank, Ph.D. is now available in book form, and newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook:

com(Kindle) Barnes and Noble(Nook) iTunes

“Musical Notes On Math” by Dr. Madeline Frank teaches your child fractions and decimals, the fun way, through the rhythm of music, Winner of the Parent To Parent Adding Wisdom Award is now available in book form, newly updated as an e-book on Kindle, Nook, or iBook.


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Tips on how to use “Musical Notes On Math”

Madeline’s Midnight Melodies- Music From around the World” . This CD complements her books with a blend of dance music, gigues, tangos, ballet and favorites including “Danny Boy”, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro”, Debussy’s “Claire De Lune” and others. “Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” is music to relax by and to move by for music therapy. ”Madeline’s Midnight Melodies” CD is now available for purchase by downloading a song, downloading the album, or by CD by clicking below:

Download Your Copy Today! Amazon | iTunes | CD Baby

Dr. Madeline Frank’s book “Leadership on a Shoestring Budget” is now available through Click on the following link to order your copy of “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available as an e-book on Kindle or in book form.

Click on the following link:

Wishing you and your family a happy St. Patricks’ Day from Your Non-Invasive Medicine Music Expert, Madeline

For over 30 years, Dr. Madeline Frank has helped children and adults overcome problems through Classical music. Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an award winning teacher, author, researcher, speaker and concert artist. She has found a scientific link between studying and/or listening to musical instruments and academic and societal success. Madeline Frank earned her Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music. Her education has included scholarships at the Juilliard School, Indiana University, and the University of Cincinnati and she has a violin performance diploma from the North Carolina School of the Arts. (C) 2016 Madeline Frank.