Letters rather generally are approached with hesitancy. These letters can be read with the same rest and enchantment that should accompany the reading of skillful autobiography. They are elusive, with almost a fey quality at times; one feels one is capturing the real person behind the poems -- and then, with a quip, a turn of phrase, she escapes again, and the reader is off on the search once more. There are the youthful letters that give one a sense of a closely knit family, of a happy Maine childhood, of Vassar- first hated, then loved, of struggling to keep financially solvent in the years in Greenwich Village, in France, and Austria, and England. One experiences with her the eternal passion for poetry, for self-expression -- and the rather unexpected flashes of brilliant scholarship and great scope of interests. One gets glimpses of her capacity for love and friendship- but glimpses only. Of ambition and self- appreciation and almost naive delight when she wins success and unfailing capacity for self-criticism, these are constantly present. Bouts with ill health, marriage- a happy one- and a tragic sense of whistling in the dark at the end, all this and more add up to an extraordinary book...(Better check your stock on Millay, for this will take readers back to her poems).