Selected poems of Anne Sexton /

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Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Sexton, Anne, 1928-1974
Uniform title:Poems. Selections
Imprint:Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1988.
Description:xxvi, 266 p. ; 22 cm.
Subject:American poetry.
Format: Print Book
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Other authors / contributors:Middlebrook, Diane Wood, 1939-2007
George, Diana Hume, 1948-
0395477824 (pbk.)
Review by Choice Review

The introduction to this selection of Sexton's poems presents a perceptive thematic analysis of the poet's work and creates a case for Sexton as a poet of "loss," who "emerges in retrospect as one of the century's most original religious poets." The ordering of the poems in this volume, moreover, builds a portrait of a character named "Anne," a fascinating, brilliant writer and woman, capable of writing explosively original metaphoric work, but a woman who is also afflicted with intense despair, self-hatred, and an overriding desire to die. The poems selected by the editors build a case for Sexton as a major 20th-century writer who fearlessly deals with subjects that hitherto were taboo--insanity, sex, the essential loneliness of the human condition, and the difficulty in achieving real commuication between men and women, mothers and their children, children and their parents, the individual and a dehumanizing society. Both editors have previously published extensive and brilliant studies of Sexton's work. This collection reflects the originality of their previous criticism and offers proof of their contention that, despite her flaws, Sexton is a ground-breaking, original poet who has earned a permanent place in American literature. Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. M. Gillan Passaic County Community College

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

Anne Sexton was that rare and desirable commodity, a best-selling poet; before and shortly after her 1974 suicide, her 11 books were grabbed up by readers eager for her intense, distorted, psychodramatic free verse. Her very popularity, however, damaged her reputation; she was simply overpublished. Her collected work fills a bloated 600 pages, including poems found in draft form after her death and rushed into print. This new selection should begin a process of rehabilitating her reputation. Like a magnificent house turned into a tenement and then gentrified, Sexton's work finally emerges from the grime of excess and hurried workmanship. For those who had spurned her poems for their unevenness and repetitiveness, this book will be a revelation: driven, hallucinatory excursions along the route of madness into the collective unconscious. For those unfamiliar with Sexton, it's a grand tour of her ``celebration of the woman I am.'' For enthusiasts, it's cause to rejoice at seeing Sexton lovingly restored to a distinguished place in the twentieth-century poetic pantheon. MPM. 811'.54 [OCLC] 87-34253

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Sexton claimed that poetry kept her alive through periods of suicidal self-hatred, and indeed her poetry started as therapy, a means suggested by her psychiatrist of documenting the unspeakable. This volume contains selections, many of them familiar, from her eight books. Despite professional success, she continued to suffer, but her work does more than document the pain that finally led to alcohol addiction and suicide. Labeled confessional, she preferred to be called a storyteller, often adopting a persona: ``Like Oedipus I am losing my sight./Like Judas I have done my wrong.'' Much of the early poetry was workshop-influenced, but Sexton's music as well as her intensity and good ear ultimately come through. Rosaly De Maios Roffman, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Indiana (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Choice Review

Review by Booklist Review

Review by Library Journal Review