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Anne Sexton

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Words [28 Aug 2010|05:17pm]


Be careful of words, 
even the miraculous ones. 
For the miraculous we do our best, 
sometimes they swarm like insects 
and leave not a sting but a kiss. 
They can be as good as fingers. 
They can be as trusty as the rock 
you stick your bottom on. 
But they can be both daisies and bruises. 
Yet I am in love with words. 
They are doves falling out of the ceiling. 
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap. 
They are the trees, the legs of summer, 
and the sun, its passionate face. 
Yet often they fail me. 
I have so much I want to say, 
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc. 
But the words aren't good enough, 
the wrong ones kiss me. 
Sometimes I fly like an eagle 
but with the wings of a wren. 
But I try to take care 
and be gentle to them. 
Words and eggs must be handled with care. 
Once broken they are impossible 
things to repair.
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[10 Apr 2009|02:37pm]

[ mood | cheerful ]

girlsinhistory come join to discuss women who shaped history :)

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Hi [24 Mar 2009|10:29am]

Hi all.

A year or two ago I finished my Master's dissertation on Sexton (The Black Art: Biography and the Appearance of Truth in the Poetry of Anne Sexton - 25,000 words)
. I posted a message here offering to share it with anyone who was interested, and a few people were. Just the other day I noticed it was in my "drafts" folder - evidently it had not been sent.

Is anyone interested in reading it? It got a pretty good mark for my Master's degree, but I'd be really interested to hear
what Sexton lovers think of it. If you'd like a copy, just post a reply, and I'll email it to you (hopefully it'll get through this time).

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The Kiss [19 Mar 2009|08:54pm]

Here's one of my favorite Anne Sexton poems:

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.
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Voices of Change's 'Transformations' is physical and theatrical, but variable vocally [13 Mar 2009|02:25pm]



Dating from 1973, Transformations is based on tales by the Grimm brothers that were "transformed" by poet Anne Sexton. Stories that originally had only unsettling undercurrents mingle, literally, with madness. Sexton imagined the tales set in a mental institution, with herself as narrator and participant...

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Favorite Anne Sexton Poems? [04 Mar 2009|08:32pm]

What are some of your favorite Anne Sexton poems?

Mine are: After Auschwitz, The Black Art, and The Kiss.
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One of my favorite Anne Sexton Poems [21 Dec 2008|04:20pm]

The Ballad of the Lonely MasturbatorCollapse )
She’s my workshop. Slippery eye,
out of the tribe of myself my breath
finds you gone. I horrify
those who stand by. I am fed.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Finger to finger, now she’s mine.
She’s not too far. She’s my encounter.
I beat her like a bell. I recline
in the bower where you used to mount her.
You borrowed me on the flowered spread.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Take for instance this night, my love,
that every single couple puts together
with a joint overturning, beneath, above,
the abundant two on sponge and feather,
kneeling and pushing, head to head.
At night alone, I marry the bed.

I break out of my body this way,
an annoying miracle. Could I
put the dream market on display?
I am spread out. I crucify.
My little plum is what you said.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Then my black-eyed rival came.
The lady of water, rising on the beach,
a piano at her fingertips, shame
on her lips and a flute’s speech.
And I was the knock-kneed broom instead.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

She took you the way a woman takes
a bargain dress off the rack
and I broke the way a stone breaks.
I give back your books and fishing tack.
Today’s paper says that you are wed.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

The boys and girls are one tonight.
They unbutton blouses. They unzip flies.
They take off shoes. They turn off the light.
The glimmering creatures are full of lies.
They are eating each other. They are overfed.
At night, alone, I marry the bed.

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Some poems I like... [20 Sep 2008|03:47pm]


Words For Dr. Y.

What has it come to, Dr. Y.
My needing you?
I work days,
Stuffed into a pine-paneled box.
You work days
With your air conditioner gasping
Like a tube-fed woman.
I move my thin legs into your office
And we work over the cadaver of my soul.
We make a stage set out of my past
And stuff painted puppets into it.
We make a bridge toward my future
And I cry to you: I will be steel!
I will build a steel bridge over my need!
I will build a bomb shelter over my heart!
But my future is a secret.
It is as shy as a mole.

What has it come to
My needing you…
I am the irritating pearl
And you the necessary shell.
You are the twelve faces of the Atlantic
And I am the rowboat. I am the burden.

How dependent, the fox asks?
Why so needy, the snake sings?
It’s this way…
Time after time I fall down into the well
And you dig a tunnel in the dangerous sand,
You take the altar from a church and shore it up.
With your own white hands you dig me out.
You give me hoses so I can breathe.
You make me a skull to hold the worms
Of my brains. You give me hot chocolate
Although I am known to have no belly.
The trees are whores yet you place
Me under them. The Sun is poison
Yet you toss me under it like a rose.
I am out of practice at living.
You are brave as a motorcycle.

What has it come to
That I should defy you?
I would be a copper wire
Without electricity.
I would be a Beacon Hill dowager
Without her hat.
I would be a surgeon
Who cut with his own nails.
I would be a glutton
Who threw away his spoon.
I would be God
Without Jesus to speak for me.

I would be Jesus
Without a cross to prove me.

Two From 'The Jesus Papers.'Collapse )
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Mercy Street [12 Jul 2008|04:19pm]

Wonderful song by Peter Gabriel, inspired by Anne Sexton

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The Rats Star [28 May 2008|12:12pm]

What significance do think "rats star" held for Sexton?

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oh, that voice [27 May 2008|10:25pm]

[ mood | music swims back to me ]

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Well looks like we'll be discussing the Colossus [22 Feb 2008|12:21pm]



So what do we think of this poem? Obviously a "father" poem, but what is the main significance of the father to the speaker in the poem?

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SP Day Poem Discussion Vote [21 Feb 2008|04:12pm]


Under the cut are the three poems of Plath's to choose from for tomorrows vote. In the comments give your vote!

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A community heads up SP Day [20 Feb 2008|12:00pm]


I have addd this to out community rules:

We will also have a Sylvia Plath Day. Where anything Plath related will/can be posted, also a Plath poem will be chosen by a vote from members to be discussed on SP day. SP day will be every Friday of the week. A list of poems will be presented by the MOD's to members every Thursday with one chosen for SP day friday.


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A favorite Plath poem. [11 Feb 2008|08:10pm]

The Disquieting Muses

Mother, mother, what illbred aunt
Or what disfigured and unsightly
Cousin did you so unwisely keep
Unasked to my christening, that she
Sent these ladies in her stead
With heads like darning-eggs to nod
And nod and nod at foot and head
And at the left side of my crib?

Mother, who made to order stories
Of Mixie Blackshort the heroic bear,
Mother, whose witches always, always,
Got baked into gingerbread, I wonder
Whether you saw them, whether you said
Words to rid me of those three ladies
Nodding by night around my bed,
Mouthless, eyeless, with stitched bald head.

In the hurricane, when father's twelve
Study windows bellied in
Like bubbles about to break, you fed
My brother and me cookies and Ovaltine
And helped the two of us to choir:
"Thor is angry: boom boom boom!
Thor is angry: we don't care!"
But those ladies broke the panes.

When on tiptoe the schoolgirls danced,
Blinking flashlights like fireflies
And singing the glowworm song, I could
Not lift a foot in the twinkle-dress
But, heavy-footed, stood aside
In the shadow cast by my dismal-headed
Godmothers, and you cried and cried:
And the shadow stretched, the lights went out.

Mother, you sent me to piano lessons
And praised my arabesques and trills
Although each teacher found my touch
Oddly wooden in spite of scales
And the hours of practicing, my ear
Tone-deaf and yes, unteachable.
I learned, I learned, I learned elsewhere,
From muses unhired by you, dear mother,

I woke one day to see you, mother,
Floating above me in bluest air
On a green balloon bright with a million
Flowers and bluebirds that never were
Never, never, found anywhere.
But the little planet bobbed away
Like a soap-bubble as you called: Come here!
And I faced my traveling companions.

Day now, night now, at head, side, feet,
They stand their vigil in gowns of stone,
Faces blank as the day I was born,
Their shadows long in the setting sun
That never brightens or goes down.
And this is the kingdom you bore me to,
Mother, mother. But no frown of mine
Will betray the company I keep.
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Monday Feb. 11th 1963 [11 Feb 2008|02:41pm]

In memory of Sylvia Plath please feel free to post Plath poems here today. Also if you could light a candle in Plath's memory.

Electra on Azalea Path

The day you died I went into the dirt,
Into the lightless hibernaculum
Where bees, striped black and gold, sleep out the blizzard
Like hieratic stones, and the ground is hard.
It was good for twenty years, that wintering -
As if you never existed, as if I came
God-fathered into the world from my mother's belly:
Her wide bed wore the stain of divinity.
I had nothing to do with guilt or anything
When I wormed back under my mother's heart.

Small as a doll in my dress of innocence
I lay dreaming your epic, image by image.
Nobody died or withered on that stage.
Everything took place in a durable whiteness.
The day I woke, I woke on Churchyard Hill.
I found your name, I found your bones and all
Enlisted in a cramped stone askew by an iron fence.

In this charity ward, this poorhouse, where the dead
Crowd foot to foot, head to head, no flower
Breaks the soil. This is Azalea path.
A field of burdock opens to the south.
Six feet of yellow gravel cover you.
The artificial red sage does not stir
In the basket of plastic evergreens they put
At the headstone next to yours, nor does it rot,
Although the rains dissolve a bloody dye:
The ersatz petals drip, and they drip red.

Another kind of redness bothers me:
The day your slack sail drank my sister's breath
The flat sea purpled like that evil cloth
My mother unrolled at your last homecoming.
I borrow the silts of an old tragedy.
The truth is, one late October, at my birth-cry
A scorpion stung its head, an ill-starred thing;
My mother dreamed you face down in the sea.

The stony actors poise and pause for breath.
I brought my love to bear, and then you died.
It was the gangrene ate you to the bone
My mother said: you died like any man.
How shall I age into that state of mind?
I am the ghost of an infamous suicide,
My own blue razor rusting at my throat.
O pardon the one who knocks for pardon at
Your gate, father - your hound-bitch, daughter, friend.
It was my love that did us both to death. 


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A tiny request! [10 Feb 2008|02:09am]

[ mood | hopeful ]

Are there any recordings of Anne Sexton and Her Kind? I have a low quality performance of Woman with Girdle. I was just wondering if there are any others circulating through the internet.

Thanks :)

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Sexton and an elevator [08 Feb 2008|07:21pm]

If you were stuck in an elevator with sexton, what would be your first question to her? (besides how did I get here)

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Since most here are Plath fans too, I'm taking liberties [05 Feb 2008|04:44pm]


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Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women [04 Feb 2008|02:21pm]

I was planning on posting "Self in 1958" because I think it's the most realistic portrayal of patriarchal society ever, but I changed my mind and went with "Cigarettes and Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women".
This poem is so heartbreaking to me. And I think it's one of Sexton's most honest works.

(from a song)

Perhaps I was born kneeling,
born coughing on the long winter,
born expecting the kiss of mercy,
born with a passion for quickness
and yet, as things progressed,
I learned early about the stockade
or taken out, the fume of the enema.
By two or three I learned not to kneel,
not to expect, to plant my fires underground
where none but the dolls, perfect and awful,
could be whispered to or laid down to die.

Now that I have written many words,
and let out so many loves, for so many,
and been altogether what I always was—
a woman of excess, of zeal and greed,
I find the effort useless.
Do I not look in the mirror,
these days,
and see a drunken rat avert her eyes?
Do I not feel the hunger so acutely
that I would rather die than look
into its face?
I kneel once more,
in case mercy should come
in the nick of time.


The hunger part reminds me that honorable mention was "Flee on Your Donkey."
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