Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton reads her own poetry -- "Her Kind," "The Ambition Bird," "Ringing the Bells," "Music Swims Back to Me," and "The Truth the Dead Know." Sexton was born in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1928. She began writing poetry on the advice of her therapist in 1957, and won the Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems, "Live or Die." Haunted by mental illness and personal torment, Sexton's poems speak openly of a dark and unhappy world.

"With Mercy for the Greedy," "The Starry Night," "Letter Written on a Ferry While Crossing Long Island Sound," and "Self in 1958," read by poet Anne Sexton. Sexton spent much of her life battling mental illness, and much of her poetry refers openly to her experiences in psychiatric hospitals. Her intricate play of rhyming sounds and repetitive rhythms forms a structure for work that focuses primarily on deep introspection and unhappiness.

Anne Sexton reads her poems "Divorce, Thy Name is Woman," "Gods Making a Living," "Jesus Cooks," "Jesus Walking," and "The Fury of Overshoes." Sexton's poetry speaks clearly of her most personal conflicts; "The Death Notebooks," the last work published in her lifetime, deal with the interconnecting obsessions of death, motherhood, and religion. This selection includes some of her more openly religious works. After struggling with depression for many years, Sexton took her own life in 1974 at the age of 46.

Poet Anne Sexton reads "Rowing," "Riding the Elevator Into the Sky," "The Play," "The Rowing Endeth," "Us," and "The Touch." Sexton's poetry ranges from the frankly sensual to the frankly miserable. Her work is accessible, deeply touching -- indeed, disturbing -- and full of intricate rhymes and patterns. Sexton has remained popular with readers since her first book, "To Bedlam and Part Way Back," was published in 1960. Several volumes appeared after her death in 1974.

Rebroadcast of HarperAudio is made possible by the Internet Multicasting Service and our sponsors.