Anne Sexton: A Biography

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Vintage Books, 1992 - Biography & Autobiography - 498 pages
54 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.

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Review: Anne Sexton: A Biography

User Review  - Bill Yates - Goodreads

The book is candid, well researched, and well written, but be prepared for the description of a very sordid life. The question that remains unanswered is, what came first, Anne's mental illness or her ... Read full review

Review: Anne Sexton: A Biography

User Review  - Lisa Ann Gallagher - Goodreads

Middlebrook is simply a first-rate biographer. She manages to piece together all the ragged threads of Anne Sexton's life and work: the possible sexual abuse as a child, the postpartum depression that ... Read full review



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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.

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