Anne Sexton is an American poet and playwright well known for her confessional poetries that deals with dark and personal themes. Erica Jong states “She is an important poet not only because of her courage in dealing with previously forbidden subjects, but because she can make the language sing…”. Sexton began her writing career in 1955 with encouragement from her long-time therapist, Dr. Martin T. Orne, as her depression was worsening and Sexton had multiple suicide attempts. Sexton’s work would gain noteriety as she won multiple awards, most notably The Pulitzer Prize for her book “Live or Die” and an off-broadway production of her only play, Mercy Street. In 1975 Sexton committed suicide by Asphyxiation from carbon monoxide in her garage. Her daughter and literary executor, Linda Gray Sexton, will release her last works posthumous before working with Diane Middlebrook to write her biography, Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton. The biography spurred controversy as it was revealed that Sexton had frequently abused her daughters as well as sexually assaulted Linda. It was also brought light that Dr.Orne has tapes of his sessions with Sexton and released them for the biography. Though an admittedly dark turn of event, Sexton’s work are still widely renown and her works have inspired countless confessional poets to explore their inner demons.
- “Anne Sexton.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/anne-sexton.
- Wagner-Martin, Linda. “Anne Sexton’s Life.” The Modern American Poetry Site,University of Illinois, http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/index.htm.
- Hausman, Ken. “Psychiatrist Criticized Over Release Of Poet’s Psychotherapy Tapes.” The Wayback Machine, https://web.archive.org/web/20090321225256/http://dianemiddlebrook.com/sexton/tpn9-6.html