At a book event I attended in the Fall of 2017, the authors were asked what books they liked to read. One author said she liked to read biographies on writers and gave her reasons why. I was really fascinated with her interest in the genre that I decided I wanted to start reading them as well and to start a series of posts of the list of biographies I am compiling for my Library. This month I am choosing, Anne Sexton: A Biography by Diane Wood Middlebrook.
Stephanie M. Hopkins
Published October 27th 1992 by Vintage (first published 1991)
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.