Anne Sexton - Remembered


As film was emerging at the end of the German Expressionist movement’s height, black and white films noir, experimental and the French New Wave ushered in a new vibration of freedom, liberation, and experimentation. In the music scene, this societal shift was reflected equally with the so called 60’s scene, acid rock, the psychedelic scene of Haight / Ashbury, Woodstock, and the Summer of Love. This led to punk rock, while over in the writing – literature scene, the mods and rockers voices were reflected in the beat poets, free form anarchistic writers such as Burroughs and e.e. Cummings, and later, the so called confessionalist poets spearheaded largely by a brilliant instructor and writer / poet named W.D. Snodgrass.

The so-called confessional poetry style consisted essentially of throwing manners out the window, with no subject taboo. Nothing was forbidden, was its motto. One of the protégés of Snodgrass included a lovely woman named Sylvia Plath, who wrote masterful works of free form literature and poetry. Plagued by depression and a pill addiction, she sadly committed suicide. Ms. Plath’s good friend, and another student in Snodgrass’ writing workshop, was an equally beautiful woman, whose writing, like Ms. Plath’s, arguably surpassed that of her mentors.

The breadth and depth of the language construction of Anne Sexton moved mountains. Her brilliance and talent won her the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems “Live or Die” in 1967. Like Ms. Plath, Anne Sexton battled drug addiction, depression, and the often un-discipline of her own genius mind. She too sadly committed suicide at 46, in 1974, a subject she often wrote about. Her work is the testament of her greatness. Her legacy has a healing power for those who listen and learn.

- Bruce Edwin

The Kiss

My mouth
blooms like a cut.
I've been wronged all year, tedious
nights, nothing but rough elbows in them
and delicate boxes of Kleenex calling crybaby
crybaby, you fool!

Before today my body was useless.
Now it's tearing at its square corners.
It's tearing old Mary's garments off, knot by knot
and see - Now it's shot full of these electric bolts.
Zing! A resurrection!

Once it was a boat, quite wooden
and with no business, no salt water under it
and in need of some paint. It was no more
than a group of boards. But you hoisted her, rigged her.
She's been elected.

My nerves are turned on. I hear them like
musical instruments. Where there was silence
the drums, the strings are incurably playing. You did this.
Pure genius at work. Darling, the composer has stepped
into fire.

Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton, Complete Poems, © 2009, Houghton Mifflin
The Hollywood Sentinel, © 2009 Sentinel.