Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton (born Anne Gray Harvey, November 9, 1928 – October 4, 1974) was an American poet.

In 1948, she married Alfred Muller Sexton II, and they had two children. Sexton suffered from severe mental illness for much of her life. The first poetry workshop she attended was led by John Holmes, and later she studied with Robert Lowell at Boston University. She was a Pulitzer Prize winner, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the first female member of the Harvard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. On October 4, 1974, Sexton committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.

anne sexton

Books

Poetry and prose

  • Uncompleted Novel-started in the 1960s
  • To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960)
  • The Starry Night (1961)
  • All My Pretty Ones (1962)
  • Live or Die (1966) – Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1967
  • Love Poems (1969)
  • Mercy Street, a 2-act play performed at the American Place Theatre (1969)
  • Transformations (1971)
  • The Book of Folly (1972)
  • The Death Notebooks (1974)
  • The Awful Rowing Toward God (1975; posthumous)
  • 45 Mercy Street (1976; posthumous)
  • Anne Sexton: A Self Portrait in Letters, edited by Linda Gray Sexton and Lois Ames (1977; posthumous)
  • Words for Dr. Y. (1978; posthumous)
  • No Evil Star: Selected Essays, Interviews and Prose, edited by Steven E. Colburn (1985; posthumous)

Children’s books
all co-written with Maxine Kumin

  • 1963 Eggs of Things (illustrated by Leonard Shortall)
  • 1964 More Eggs of Things (illustrated by Leonard Shortall)
  • 1974 Joey and the Birthday Present (illustrated by Evaline Ness)
  • 1975 The Wizard’s Tears (illustrated by Evaline Ness)

Further reading

  • Middlebrook, Diane Wood (1992) [1991]. Anne Sexton: A Biography. Boston: Vintage.
  • Sexton, Linda Gray (1994). Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother. Little, Brown & Co.
  • McGowan, Philip (2004). Anne Sexton & Middle Generation Poetry: The Geography of Grief. Praeger Publishers.
  • Salvio, Paula M. (2007). Anne Sexton: teacher of weird abundance. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
  • Gill, Jo (2007). Anne Sexton’s Confessional Poetics. University Press of Florida.
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