Anne Sexton: A Biography

Front Cover
Vintage Books, 1992 - Biography & Autobiography - 498 pages
3 Reviews
Anne Sexton began writing poetry at the age of twenty-nine to keep from killing herself. She held on to language for dear life and somehow -- in spite of alcoholism and the mental illness that ultimately led her to suicide -- managed to create a body of work that won a Pulitzer Prize and that still sings to thousands of readers. This exemplary biography, which was nominated for the National Book Award, provoked controversy for its revelations of infidelity and incest and its use of tapes from Sexton's psychiatric sessions. It reconciles the many Anne Sextons: the 1950s housewife; the abused child who became an abusive mother; the seductress; the suicide who carried "kill-me pills" in her handbag the way other women carry lipstick; and the poet who transmuted confession into lasting art.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - the.ken.petersen - LibraryThing

This is a very well researched biography which links Sexton's poetry to her condition at the time of writing. For those who do not know her work, Sexton produced, almost exclusively, self examining ... Read full review

ANNE SEXTON: A Biography

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Frustrated as a housewife and mother in suburban Boston and plagued by mental problems including suicidal obsessions, Sexton, beautiful, intense, and gifted, began writing poetry at age 29 on the ... Read full review



25 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1992)

Diane Wood Middlebrook is a writer, poet and Professor of English at Stanford University. She edited "The Selected Poems of Anne Sexton" (1988). Her book "Anne Sexton: A Biography" (1992) was a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her 1998 book, "Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tipton," is a fascinating account of the respected jazz musician of the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Upon Tipton's death he was discovered to be a woman, despite his having had five wives, with whom he adopted several children. Diane Wood Middlebrook was born in Pocatello, Idaho on April 16, 1939. A graduate of the University of Washington and Yale University, she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation. She has one child, Leah; she married Carl Djerassi in 1985.

Bibliographic information