Anne Sexton



Anne Sexton is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. (e.e.cummings is also buried here.)


Grave of Anne Sexton (Photograph by Legerdemaine )

Anne Sexton

Following her first attempted suicide, Sexton was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. It was here, under the advice of her psychiatrist Dr Martin Orne, that she began writing poetry.

In 1958 she was accepted onto Robert Lowell's graduate writing seminar at Boston University. While on the course  she met, and became friendly with, fellow poet Sylvia Plath. Sexton's poetry like Plath's frequently uses the confessional "I" form. It also deals, in a disturbing manner, with similar themes to Plath such as hospitalisation, childbirth and mental illness.

Sexton's early work employed traditional poetic forms. However, from 1966 onwards she started to use free verse as evidenced in her Pulitzer Prize winning collection Live or Die

In 1969 Sexton was editorial consultant to the New York Poetry Quarterly and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.  In 1972 she was made a full professor at Boston University. 

On October 4th 1974 Sexton, who had a long history of mental illness, finally killed herself in her own garage with carbon monoxide poisoning.


Child, the current of your breath is six days long.
You lie, a small knuckle on my white bed;
lie, fisted like a snail, so small and strong
at my breast. Your lips are animals; you are fed
with love. At first hunger is not wrong.

From Unknown Girl in the Maternity Ward






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