Rare Film Clips Of The Poet Anne Sexton

Yet again, I am amazed at what I can find on YouTube.

Part of my time has been spent getting into the mind of poet Anne Sexton for a project I'm working on. I am fascinated by her, and can relate to her situation: a housewife and mother of two who turns to poetry for salvation. While my situation (and mental state) is much different that hers, the poetry she wrote in the 60s and 70s I consider revolutionary.

If you want to get a glimpse of her, this presentation gives an overview of her life and her work.


January: I am so excited you are researching this, and this clip is amazing. It is fantastic to be able to see her as she is reading (as opposed to just hearing it) - her ego really comes through so strong. And I see her ego - the ego of a kind of person like her - as a signal that inside, there is a very small, broken, afraid person.

Some time ago I stumbled across an article about her last days which I found interesting. I posted it on my blog (since it forced you to buy it...$20!)so don't tell on me, but go read it. I think you will like it."

the article
January said…
Cool. I'll check out the article now.

Anne had a lot of insecurities. Can't imagine what it must have been like for her family. But as a poet and writer she was brilliant.
polka dot witch said…
thanks for sharing that. what i find so interesting in that are the comments of her niece, who criticizes ann's therapy sessions b/c they're biased, who resents the story of ann sexton because it is based solely on ann's experience. any "requirement" that therapy and poetry have to be fair and balanced is absurd! we all live and write according to our personal experience of the world. as writers, that's all we can take responsibility for.
Hi January,

In case you haven’t already heard, there’s a new weekly poetry prompt site at
Totally Optional Prompts

Stop by and check it out!
thank you for sharing that. i'm at work so didn't get to watch it all but i'll be back later.
January said…
Michelle--I know exactly what you mean.
January said…
Carolee, the niece's comments are strange but the immediate family did give permission to use the information from Anne's sessions. Again, I can't imagine what it must have been like to be a family member. The extended family has been consistent in saying that she made things up.

And, not long after the Middlebrook biography, Anne's daughter Linda wrote her own book called Mercy Street--broke my heart. I haven't read it in years but will read it again after I finish the Middlebrook boo.
chiefbiscuit said…
Her 'Rowing Towards God' is a classic.
Loved catching up with you and yours - lovely photos! You're right - you do have a good-looking family - and don't forget how good-looking you are yourself!
She looks so very different to me MOVING, alive like that, when I have been used to seeing her so...fixed, and immovable in photographs.

Thank you for posting this!
Becca said…
January, thanks for posting that. I did lots of research on Sexton for my senior college thesis, and read the Middlebrook bio at that time (which was when it was first published, long before You Tube or the internet!) For some reason, I was moved to re-read it last summer.

I agree with Poet With A Day Job, it is fascinating to see her ego at play as she reads. She is quite an actress, as well as a poet, isn't she?

Very enlightening!
January said…
Becca, you may want to read Linda Gray Sexton's book "Mercy Street," too. I have it and was just so moved by her words.

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