The Complete Poems Anne Sexton PDF/EPUB ´ Poems Anne

The Complete Poems Anne Sexton From the joy and anguish of her own experience Sexton fashioned poems that told truths about the inner lives of men and women This book comprises Sexton's ten volumes of verse including the Pulitzer Prize winner Live or Die as well as seven poems from her last years I have not read much poetry in the 15 years I have been alive I have read the poems that are reuired expected to be read in school but that is pretty much where it endsThere are certain poets whose names I have seen and automatically wanted to read Anne Sexton is one of them Maybe it was the ‘sex’ in her last name that grabbed my attention I am a teenage boy and allMaybe it's the picture of her on the cover of her Collected Poems though I bought her Selected Poems first I gave that away The covers for both are beautifulMaybe it’s the fact that in her time the things she wrote were controversial ludicrous insane Maybe it’s because she was insaneThis book has been sitting on my bookshelf for over a year A few weeks ago I picked it up put it on my bedside table and told myself I would read it now And I did And I loved itBut something happened about a month ago that completely convinced me that I had to read it I will start with this storyMy mother and I were driving in Somerville away from Somerville the night we went to see Anna Vogelzang We didn’t follow the directions We ended up in WestonWe drove through the town and I looked at the houses the dim lights that shined in each window the perfectly cut grass the calm of this little town I asked my mom if there were any markets in the town or if people had to go into Boston the outskirts to shop for themselves She told me she didn’t knowI felt like there was something inside of me some sort of otherworldly presence It scared me as well as the fact that my mother and I were the only two people out on the streets and had no idea where we were goingBut I knew what I felt We were lostWe got through the town found our way home and I went to sleepBut I didn’t forget the feelingEventually I got to this book I picked it up took it from under the lamp on my bedside table and read the foreword written by Maxine KuminI read that she lived and died in Weston MassachusettsAnd I knew it was herIt doesn’t mean she wasn’t haunting me It doesn’t mean much of anything at allWhat I think it does mean is that it was finally time to read this bookSo I didI read this book everywhere in my kitchen my bedroom my mother’s car during my finals I would sit and read the words to myself out loud and in my mind Sometimes I would hear her voice the voice that gave her much noteriety when she gave public readings Sometimes I would hear someone I couldn’t recognizeSometimes I would hear myselfThe foreword that precedes this book is the perfect introduction to Anne Sexton’s poetry Maxine Kumin a legendary poet herself was one of Anne’s best friends She was in her critiue group with her along with two other men whose names I have forgottenFrom the beginning she knew Anne was different Anne was tortured psychotic unstable all of her life She crafted stories and lies and was always brilliant always writing always destined to change the world of poetryPeople warned Maxine of Anne but it didn’t stop her She was one of the last people to see Anne aliveThe foreword ends The book begins I braced myself and started readingI considered only letting myself read one collection a day so it would take me 10 and for the most part this is what I did I went through the poems slowly giving myself time to dissect the lines and attempt to understand them Mostly I did The meter of her early poems was like a metronome in my mindTo Bedlam and Part Way Back was Anne’s first collection It contains the first poems she wrote after she began going to workshops and working with Maxine and the men From the beginning she submitted to magazines and she uickly rose and advanced and made her way into publishing These poems have potential brilliance laced into every single one They are easy to read hard to read and anxiety ridden I would pick highlights but I’m not sure how long we’d be here if I didAll My Pretty Ones Anne’s second collection was published two years later It has all of the same things as To Bedlam and Part Way back did but it also has something new Another part of Anne is introduced as she gets comfortable in her writing and uncomfortable with the path her life has taken These poems don’t shy away from her illness as none of hers ever did It is explained bluntly her emotions though they were not obvious to her at allThe words knew than she didI had a lot of singular thoughts about these collections as I read them which I probably should have written down I have forgotten them now Some of them are still here Those are the ones I think are important to write down and get out for you to readI am writing this all at onceLive or Die is Anne’s third collection It won the Pulitzer Prize This is one of my favorites of the books that are compiled in this collection The poems are arranged in chronological order and highlight Anne’s life all of her life and the things that haunted her for the years she was aliveThere is something about these poems that is especially shockingLove Poems are about love They are not about love The imagery in these poems is beautiful horrifying and in this collection yet another part of Anne is introduced It has been acknowledged many times that Anne’s writing got much disfigured and complicated as she got older She always had her style always but it was changing Here it is evident than in the poems before itHere she is shining on the top of the worldTransformations is freuently recognized as Anne’s best collection or maybe I’m just telling myself that I’ve read it Frankly I did not like this collection I liked it appreciated it but I couldn’t get into it It is a retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tales going one by one through them I could not relate to them though I could not relate to many of Anne’s poems before It was obvious now and I felt like I was in the wrong place at the wrong timeI will read them again eventually I will re read this whole collectionIf you haven’t noticed I am going one by one through each of the collections and sharing my thoughts You don’t have to keep reading Better yet run as fast as you can to some bookstore and buy this if it is there If it is not there order itYou will know what I’m talking about when I say that Anne is almost godly so close that the ‘almost’ is barely necessaryI am going to continueThe Book of Folly is a return to Anne’s old work but also a look forward to her new work the things she was going to write There is the harsh honesty that was always there in her earlier collections but also the imagery that was present in Love Poems and Transformations Even with the imagery you still know that she is not writing of anyone but herselfIt never feels self centered It feels like you are reading something you cannot drop on the floorThe Death Notebooks is the last collection of Anne’s work that was published before she died It is about death of course but everything Anne wrote is about death in some way Everything Anne wrote is about everything You can fit each poem into so many different categories without pushing it or deforming it in order for it to slide in smoothlyHer poems are the perfect fit They are the kinds of poems I have dreamed of writingHere though it is obvious that Anne was going to goAnne wrote The Awful Rowing Toward God uickly in just a few weeks during a mental breakdown This is the collection she presented to Maxine the day she took her life Here she is as distracted as ever as lustful with the idea of suicide as she has ever beenThese poems are about religion God the things she was frantically searching for in the last years of her life I am writing these words so uickly I can barely keep up with my thoughts That’s what this collection reminded me of tying up loose endsShe would not allow this to be published before she died It was already scheduled for the spring on 1975 when she killed herselfAnne was working on 45 Mercy Street revising it up until she died There is an editor’s note before it and in it her daughter writes that some poems have been excluded due to danger of the resentment for Anne’s family that lies in some of the poemsThis collection is full of secrets and that is what I felt while reading it like I knew something I shouldn’t knowIt was different reading this knowing that she was already deadIt hit me again and again though she has been dead for almost 40 yearsThe Divorce Papers the third part of this collection is one of my favorite series’ of Anne’s that is in this collectionIt is about the disintegration of everything around her and the poems are breathtaking as alwaysWords For Dr Y is a collection that was put together by Anne’s daughter Linda who is Anne’s literary executor The first series is a compilation of letters that Anne wrote to her therapist about the things she was thinking about the things he was telling her that stretches over the span of 10 yearsThe third series of poems that are here is probably my favorite or my close favorite of all of the things in this book It is called “Scorpio Bad Spider Die” There are horoscopes anecdotes and the words are sparse and minimal and yet the emotional undertones are as present and assaulting as everThese were written years before she fell into the death holeThe final poems a few last poems from her last years are almost not there They are Anne always Anne but she is already gone Her marriage has dissolved and her children are distancing themselves from her and she is losing herself has already lost herselfThe last poem that she wrote in her life only a few weeks before she killed herself is “Love Letter Written in a Burning Building”Reading it I knew it was coming And it didI have written this review in Microsoft Word It is 5 pages long 1850 words and I am not even finished and I doubt anyone has made it this farThat’s good Maybe you are already on your way to the bookstoreThere will never be another Anne Sexton People will try to write like her and probably already have but she is the kind of poet and person that only comes once every century millennium and she is one of a kindShe would’ve died by now even if she hadn’t killed herself probablyMaybe it had to happenReading these poems I felt insane It was horrifying that I began to understand why she said the things she did believed she could I felt alive reading these poems something I'm always searching to feel when I readI felt it I always felt itI want to know about her life There is a biography I am curious about and also a compilation of letters she wrote that her daughter Linda Gray edited I am also curious to read her daughter’s writingsI want to know about her The Confessionalism that Anne’s writing almost always resides in does not mean that it is a Confession a simply stated apologyThis is not her life these poems It is her life It is her illness It is all of the women she ever was those doomed tortured womenBut she was brilliant And that is enough From the self conscious and contemplative poems of To Bedlam and Part Way Back to the strange and surreal verse of The Awful Rowing Toward God Anne Sexton's work encompasses a wide range of styles few other American poets have written so many kinds of poems on such different subjects while successfully capturing the attention of the public Often interested in personal relationships as well as the bond between poet and audience Sexton's poems consistently dazzle readers with inventive images swift pacing and simple but powerful language So too does her work typically take on taboo topics and experiences belonging to women But her specific subject matter shifts from collection to collection All My Pretty Ones deals with the death of parents and entering middle age; Love Poems domestic misery and unsustainable affairs; Transformations fairytales and patriarchal oppression; The Death Notebooks celebrity and suicide Different as the collections might be from each other though there is a distinct stylistic progression amongst them making The Complete Poems best read in order To Bedlam and Part Way Back 1960 45All My Pretty Ones 1962 55Live or Die 1966 45Love Poems 1969 55Transformations 1971 35The Book of Folly 1972 55The Death Notebooks 1974 55The Awful Rowing Toward God 1975 55POSTHUMOUSLY PUBLISHED WORK 45 Mercy Street 1976 55Words for Dr Y 1978 45Other Poems 1971 1973 55Scorpio Bad Spider Die 1971 55Last Poems 45All Anne Sexton's major work in one place plus previously unreleased material to complete what is arguably the greatest collection of poetry I have ever read Only slightly hampered by 'Transformations' which seems out of place with everything else She is at her troubling best when writing of death wife beaters mental illness menstruation and cancer rather than Rumpelstiltskin Cinderella and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Whilst I believe Transformations to be her weakest work all the rest of it she simply didn't put a foot wrongThe later poems towards the end of her life clearly highlight a rapidly disturbed mindIt's sad to see The facts of Anne's difficult and chaotic life are well known and no other American poet in our time has cried out aloud publicly on so many private details While the frankness of these revelations attracted many readers especially women who identified strongly with the female aspect of the poems a number of critics for the most part misogynist men took offense Probably down to the fact they couldn't handle a woman being talented and doing so wellThe intimate details divulged in Sexton's poetry enchanted or repelled with eual passion In addition to the strong feelings Anne's work aroused there was the undeniable fact of her physical beauty Her presence on the platform dazzled with its staginess its props of water glass cigarettes and ashtray She used pregnant pauses husky whispers pseudoshouts to calculated effect A Sexton audience might hiss its displeasure or deliver a standing ovation One thing it wouldn't have done is doze off during a reading Anne basked in the attention she attracted partly because it was antithetical to an earlier generation's view of the woman writer as 'poetess' and partly because she was flattered by andenjoyed the adoration of her public But behind the glamorously garbed woman lurked a terrified and homely child cowed from the cradle onward it seemed by the indifference and cruelties of her world Her parents she was convinced had not wanted her to be born Her sisters she alleged competed against and won out over her Her teachers unable to rouse the slumbering intelligencefrom its hiding place treated her with impatience and anger Anne's counterphobic response to rejection and admonishment was always to defy dare press contravene Thus the frightenedlittle girl became a flamboyant and provocative woman bursting at the seems to put pen to paper The timid girl who skulked in closets burst forth as an exhibitionist the intensely private individual bared her soul to the masses and in public readings where almost invariably there was standing room only'All My Pretty Ones' 'The Death Notebooks' and the posthumously released '45 Mercy Street' I would say are my favourite volumes But overall there was very little to begrudge aboutOver 600 pages of simply great poetryIt's impossible to pluck out of so many the poems that stuck in my mind so have randomly picked three to finish off with A CURSE AGAINST ELEGIESOh love why do we argue like thisI am tired of all your pious talkAlso I am tired of all the deadThey refuse to listenso leave them aloneTake your foot out of the graveyardthey are busy being deadEveryone was always to blamethe last empty fifth of boozethe rusty nails and chicken feathersthat stuck in the mud on the back doorstepthe worms that lived under the cat's earand the thin lipped preacherwho refused to callexcept once on a flea ridden daywhen he came scuffing in through the yardlooking for a scapegoatI hid in the kitchen under the ragbagI refuse to remember the deadAnd the dead are bored with the whole thing But you — you go aheadgo on go on back downinto the graveyardlie down where you think their faces are;talk back to your old bad dreams THREE GREEN WINDOWSHalf awake in my Sunday napI see three green windowsin three different lights —one west one south one eastI have forgotten that old friends are dyingI have forgotten that I grow middle agedAt each window such rustlingsThe trees persist yeasty and sensuousas thick as saintsI see three wet gargoyles covered with birdsTheir skins shine in the sun like leatherI'm on my bed as light as a spongeSoon it will be summerShe is my motherShe will tell me a story and keep me asleepagainst her plump and fruity skinI see leaves —leaves that are washed and innocentleaves that never knew a cellarborn in their own green bloodlike the hands of mermaidsI do not think of the rusty wagon on the walkI pay no attention to the red suirrelsthat leap like machines beside the houseI do not remember the real trunks of the treesthat stand beneath the windowsas bulky as artichokesI turn like a giantsecretly watching secretly knowingsecretly naming each elegant seaI have misplaced the Van Allen beltthe sewers and the drainagethe urban renewal and the suburban centersI have forgotten the names of the literary criticsI know what I knowI am the child I wasliving the life that was mineI am young and half asleepIt is a time of water a time of treesAS IT WAS WRITTENEarth earthriding your merry go roundtoward extinctionright to the rootsthickening the oceans like gravyfestering in your cavesyou are becoming a latrine Your trees are twisted chairsYour flowers moan at their mirrorsand cry for a sun that doesn't wear a maskYour clouds wear whitetrying to become nunsand say novenas to the skyThe sky is yellow with its jaundiceand its veins spill into the riverswhere the fish kneel downto swallow hair and goat's eyesAll in all I'd saythe world is stranglingAnd I in my bed each nightlisten to my twenty shoesconverse about itAnd the moonunder its dark hoodfalls out of the sky each nightwith its hungry red mouthto suck at my scars strings are incurably playingthe composer has stepped into fireI devoured The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton whose poetry especially her love poems uivers with a pulsating eros as it sways to its orgiastic echoes My nerves are turned on I hear them likemusical instruments Where there was silencethe drums the strings are incurably playing You did thisPure genius at work Darling the composer has steppedinto fire From The KissHers was a tragic life throughout most of which she suffered severe mental illness Yet by the late 1960s she was one of the most revered poets in America having won the Pulitzer and being made the first female member of the Harvard chapter of Phi Beta KappaHer poetry seems most notable for the openness with which she wrote confessional poetry about topics still deemed taboo for open personal discussion such as incest masturbation menstruation adultery and drug addiction By the early 1970s some critics saw her as a lazy boozy poetess Others since have been kinder saying that she had matured to the use her poems as an instrument against the 'politesse' of language politics religion and sex Rothenberg Joris Poems for the Millenium 1995 A passage from another of my favorite poems Eighteen Days Without You Draw me good draw me warmBring me your raw boned wrist and yourstrange Mr Bind strange stubborn hornDarling bring with this an hour of undulations forthis is the music for which I was born Lock in Be alert my acrobatand I will be soft wood and you the nailand we will make fiery ovens for Jack Spratand you will hurl yourself into my tiny jailand we will take a supper together and thatwill be that At age 45 in October 1974 Ms Sexton locked herself in her garage started her car's engine and committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoningPeter Gabriel obviously loved her poetry enough to write and dedicate to her a song called Mercy Street on his 1986 album; a few lines she pictures the broken glass she pictures the steamshe pictures a soulwith no leak at the seamdreaming of mercy streetwear your insides outdreaming of mercyAnne with her father is out in the boatriding the waterriding the waves on the sea Thank you to the publisher Open Road Integrated Media and NetGalley for a copy of this wonderful book in exchange for a fair review

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