Anne Sexton

Known for her intensely emotional confessional poetry, Anne Sexton was a successful writer and poet during her lifetime. In 1967, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her poems are characterized by their autobiographical aspect, often recounting her constant struggle with depression and mental illness.

Photo: Anne Sexton, 1967, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Digital ID: cph 3c09698

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About

Born in Massachusetts, Sexton suffered from mental illness and severe depression throughout her life. After her second severe breakdown in 1955, Sexton’s doctor encouraged her to start writing poetry.

Sexton experienced early success with her poems, with publications in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, and Saturday Review shortly after beginning her writing career. Her studies with Robert Lowell (alongside Sylvia Plath and George Starbuck at Boston University) were influential on her poetry.

As time progressed, Sexton continued to meet success with her work, encouraged poet Maxine Kumin, and eventually co-wrote four childrens books with her. She often collaborated with musicians and formed the jazz-rock group Her Kind. However, her depression became increasingly manic, and she took her own life in 1974.

–Christie Finn

Related Information

Books

The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton

By Anne Sexton

Songs

Audio

Sexton Songs

Track:

    Sheet Music

    I Will Breathe a Mountain

    Composer(s): William Bolcom

    Song(s): 1. Pity Me Not Because the Light of Day
    2. How To Swing Those Obbligatos Around
    3. The Crazy Woman
    4. Just Once Text: Anne Sexton
    5. Never More Will The Wind
    6. The Sage Text: Denise Levertov
    7. O To Be a Dragon
    8. The Bustle in a House
    9. I Saw Eternity
    10. Night Practice
    11. The Fish

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    Sexton Songs (all versions)

    Composer(s): David Conte

    Song(s): 1. Rowing
    2. Her Kind
    3. Ringing the Bells
    4. Riding the Elevator into the Sky
    5. Us

    Buy via Sheet Music Plus

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