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Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton, (November 9, 1928 - October 4, 1974), American poet and writer.

Anne Gray Harvey was born in Newton, Massachusetts on 1928, and spent most of her life near Boston. In 1945, Anne began attending a boarding school, Rogers Hall, in Lowell, Massachusetts. Tragically, she suffered from depression for most of her life; in fact, her poetry was prescribed as a possible medicine and eventual cure for her condition. Sexton's first breakdown took place in 1954, long after her 1948 elopement with Alfred Muller Sexton. After a second breakdown, in 1955, Anne met Dr. Martin Orne, at Glenside Hospital, who encouraged her to take up poetry-writing, and enroll in her first poetry workshop, with John Holmes the instructor.

After the workshop finished, Sexton experienced quick success with her poetry, with her poems accepted by the New Yorker, Harper's Magazine[?], and the Saturday Review[?].

She attended a poetry workshop with Sylvia Plath, taught by Robert Lowell[?]. Later, Sexton herself taught workshops at Boston College, Oberlin College, and Colgate College. Anne Sexton is the modern model of the confessional poet[?], one perhaps begun by the publication of Heart's Needle, by W.D. Snodgrass[?]. In this sense, Sexton helped open the door not only for female poets, but for female issues; Sexton wrote about menstruation, abortion, masturbation, and adultery before such issues were even topics for casual discussion, helping redefine the boundaries of poetry.

Anne Sexton was a beautiful and stunning woman, who, for a brief period had modeled for Boston's Hart Agency. Indeed, with James Dickey, Anne Sexton was one of the poetry celebrities during this time, famous across the United States.

The title for her eighth collection of poetry, The Awful Rowing Toward God, came from her meeting with a Catholic priest who, although he refused to administer the last rites, did tell her: "God is in your typewriter," which gave the poet the desire and willpower to continue living and writing for some more time.

In 1967, she won the Pulitzer Prize for her collection, Live or Die.

She committed suicide in 1974, after winning the admiration of Robert Lowell, Maxine Kumine[?], James Dickey, Joyce Carol Oates[?], and Sylvia Plath, among others.


  • To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960)
  • All My Pretty Ones (1962)
  • Live or Die (1966)
  • Love Poems (1969)
  • Transformations (1971)
  • The Book of Folly (1972)
  • The Death Notebooks (1974)
  • The Awful Rowing Towards God (1975)
  • 45 Mercy Street (1976; posthumous)
  • Words for Dr. Y. (1978; posthumous)

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