Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton

Birth
Newton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 4 Oct 1974 (aged 45)
Weston, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot Section 17
Memorial ID 3995 · View Source
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Confessional Poet. She is best known for her highly personal, confessional verse. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967 for her book “Live or Die.” Her poetry goes into detail about her long battles with depression, suicidal tendencies, and intimate details from her private life, including relationships with her husband and children. She suffered from severe bipolar disorder with her first manic episode taking place in 1954. After a second episode in 1955, she met Dr. Martin Orne who became her long-term therapist. It was Dr. Orne who encouraged her to write poetry. She had anxiety about registering for the first workshop and asked a friend to make the phone call and accompany her to the first session. She found early approval with her poetry with some of her work being accepted by The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine and the Saturday Review. She later studied at Boston University alongside poets Sylvia Plath and George Starbuck. She later paid tribute to her friendship with Plath in the 1966 poem "Sylvia's Death." Her first volume of poetry, “To Bedlam and Part Way Back,” was published in 1960. In the late 1960s, the manic elements of her illness began to affect her career but she still wrote, published work and gave readings of her poetry. She collaborated with musicians, forming a jazz-rock group called Her Kind that added music to her poetry. Her play “Mercy Street” starring Marian Seldes was produced in 1969 after several years of revisions. She also collaborated with the artist Barbara Swan, who illustrated several of her books. On October 4, 1974, Sexton had lunch with her long-time friend Maxine Kumin to revise galleys for Sexton's manuscript of “The Awful Rowing Toward God” scheduled for publication in March 1975. On returning home she put on her mother's old fur coat, removed all her rings, poured herself a glass of vodka, locked herself in her garage, and started the engine of her car, ending her life by carbon monoxide poisoning. In an interview over a year before her death, she explained she had written the first drafts of “The Awful Rowing Toward God” in 20 days with "two days out for despair and three days out in a mental hospital." She went on to say that she would not allow the poems to be published before her death.

Bio by: Glendora


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 14 Nov 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 3995
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Anne Sexton (9 Nov 1928–4 Oct 1974), Find a Grave Memorial no. 3995, citing Forest Hills Cemetery and Crematory, Jamaica Plain, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .