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Transcript of Anne Sexton
Father was an acoholic
Possible sexual abuse
Sent to boarding school in 1945
At 19 she married while engaged to someone else
Became a fashion model while husband served in Korea
1953 first daughter - 1954 aunt died - 1955 second daughter
1959 Anne lost both of her parents, only three months apart from each other
Became heavily dependent on therapists and medication
In 1973 she asked for a divorce
In October 1974 she committed suicide by asphyxiation
Publications 1960- Bedlam and Part Way Back
1962- All My Pretty Ones
1964- Selected Poems
1969- Love Poems
1969- off-Broadway production of Mercy Street
1972- Publication of prose poems in Transformations
1972- The Book of Folley
1974- The Death Notebooks
1975- The Awful Rowing Toward God
1981- a collection of her works were put in The Complete Poems Awards/Prizes 1959- Frost Fellowship to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference
1961- Radcliffe Institute Fellowship
1962- the Levinson Prize
1967- Pulitzer Prize for Live Or Die "My analyst told me to write between our sessions about what I was feeling and thinking and dreaming" "If anything influenced me it was W. D. Snodgrass' Heart's Needle.... It so changed me, and undoubtedly it must have influenced my poetry." -Sexton -Sexton "Poem after poem focuses on the nightmare obsessions of the damned: suicide, crucifixion, the death of others ..., fear, the humiliations of childhood, the boy-child she never had...." Joel O. Conarroe Poet Comparisons Sylvia Plath
All considered confessional poets "for years I railed against being put in this category. Then ... I decided I was the only confessional poet." -Sexton God loafs around heaven,
without a shape
but He would like to smoke His cigar
or bite His fingernails
and so forth.
God owns heaven
but He craves the earth,
the earth with its little sleepy caves,
its bird resting at the kitchen window,
even its murders lined up like broken chairs,
even its writers digging into their souls
even its hucksters selling their animals
even its babies sniffing for their music,
the farm house, white as a bone,
sitting in the lap of its corn,
even the statue holding up its widowed life,
but most of all He envies the bodies,
He who has no body.
The eyes, opening and shutting like keyholes
and never forgetting, recording by thousands,
the skull with its brains like eels--
the tablet of the world--
the bones and their joints
that build and break for any trick,
the ballast of the eternal,
and the heart, of course,
that swallows the tides
and spits them out cleansed.
He does not envy the soul so much.
He is all soul
but He would like to house it in a body
and come down
and give it a bath
now and then. . . . . Wanting To Die
Inspired by Sylvia Plath Watch out for power,
for its avalanche can bury you,
snow, snow, snow, smothering your mountain.
Watch out for hate,
it can open its mouth and you'll fling yourself out
to eat off your leg, an instant leper.
Watch out for friends,
because when you betray them,
as you will,
they will bury their heads in the toilet
and flush themselves away.
Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth.
Watch out for games, the actor's part,
the speech planned, known, given,
for they will give you away
and you will stand like a naked little boy,
pissing on your own child-bed.
Watch out for love
(unless it is true,
and every part of you says yes including the toes) ,
it will wrap you up like a mummy,
and your scream won't be heard
and none of your running will end.
Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
your tears to the land. To love another is something
like prayer and can't be planned, you just fall
into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.
if I were you I'd pay no attention
to admonitions from me,
made somewhat out of your words
and somewhat out of mine.
I do not believe a word I have said,
except some, except I think of you like a young tree
with pasted-on leaves and know you'll root
and the real green thing will come.
Let go. Let go.
Oh special person,
this typewriter likes you on the way to them,
but wants to break crystal glasses
when the dark crust is thrown off
and you float all around
like a happened balloon.