Anne Sexton

(9 November 1928 – 4 October 1974 / Newton, Massachusetts)

Anne Sexton
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an American poet, known for her highly personal, confessional verse. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967. Themes of her poetry include her suicidal tendencies, long battle against depression and various intimate details from her private life, including her relationships with her husband and children.

Early Life and Family

Sexton was born in Newton, Massachusetts, and spent most of her life near Boston. In 1945, Sexton began attending a boarding school, Rogers Hall, in Lowell, Massachusetts. For a time as a young woman, she modeled at Boston's Hart Agency. She eloped in 1948 with Alfred Muller Sexton, known as 'Kayo.' Before their divorce in the early 1970s, ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''“As it has been said:
    Love and a cough
    cannot be concealed.
    Even a small cough.
    Even a small love.”''
    Anne Sexton
  • ''“Watch out for intellect,
    because it knows so much it knows nothing
    and leaves you hanging upside down,
    mouthing knowledge as your heart
    falls out of your mouth.” ''
    Anne Sexton, The Complete Poems
  • ''“Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” ''
    Anne Sexton
  • “Anne, I dont want to live. . . . Now listen, life is lovely, but I Cant Live It. I cant even explain. I know how silly it sounds . . . but if you knew how it Felt. To be alive, yes, alive, but not be...
    Anne Sexton, Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters
  • ''“As for me, I am a watercolor.
    I wash off.” ''
    Anne Sexton
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Comments about Anne Sexton

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  • Lindsay Macdonald (2/7/2016 1:06:00 PM)

    Her words are simply breathtaking. It is confessionalism, said plainly in its truest form without ever being meaningless.

  • Lydia Kim (11/29/2014 6:29:00 PM)

    She's so eloquent and her words have such a pure depth. They're so honest and neither said with good nor bad intentions. Anne Sexton will live on in me and I'm sure in many others.

  • S B (5/5/2014 5:48:00 PM)

    Has many beautiful poems written, pointing out one of my favorites, Red Roses

  • Franko Macan (3/4/2014 6:37:00 AM)

    Red Roses, was the first of Anne's poems I ever read. A powerful emoatinal peices comparable to Paula Meehan's poem about her dead Mother.
    It helped me embark on a story of my life, which Ihope to have publishes, which includes childhood psychological and emoational abuse leading to bouts of adult Schizophrenia, and many other issues. Thanks Anne where ever you are; hopefully with the other great pure of hearts too good for this world, like Elvis. To me you were the Elvis of poetry. Out there in a league of your own: the Queen of poets, giving many lesser mortals like me inspiration.

  • Thomas Revitt (8/31/2013 9:34:00 PM)

    45 Mercy Street is one of the great American poems. It reflects American every day life and individual loneliness and loss, and it captures them both almost in the same line.

  • Samanthia Moore Samanthia Moore (6/25/2013 3:19:00 PM)

    I really like anne saxton, she is a really good writter. besides what critics think of her i think shes amazing.

  • Kevin Patrick (11/28/2012 10:16:00 PM)

    A fabulous poet, her use of language is commanding, Anne was a modern poet who did not use any of the clichés of pretentious Victorianism, her subjects are tough and emotional, she talks about the dark side because she lived in the dark side and you will never get a better depiction of depression then from this woman.

  • Kaye Rose (5/7/2012 7:22:00 PM)

    Anne Sexton is my absolute favorite poet. She wasn't ever afraid to tackle a subject and I admire that; it's a mystery what might have come from her had she not committed suicide. We lost some great work most likely due to that.

  • Cherie Chetyrbok (2/21/2012 12:39:00 AM)

    Excellent poet. One of my All-Time favorites.

  • Amy Marie Amy Marie (12/19/2010 3:43:00 PM)

    I love her style. I recently made her one of my three favorite poets :)

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Best Poem of Anne Sexton

45 Mercy Street

In my dream,
drilling into the marrow
of my entire bone,
my real dream,
I'm walking up and down Beacon Hill
searching for a street sign -
namely MERCY STREET.
Not there.

I try the Back Bay.
Not there.
Not there.
And yet I know the number.
45 Mercy Street.
I know the stained-glass window
of the foyer,
the three flights of the house
with its parquet floors.
I know the furniture and
mother, grandmother, great-grandmother,
the servants.
I know the cupboard of Spode
the boat of ice, solid silver,
where the ...

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