Anne Sexton: Teacher of Weird Abundance (S U N Y Series, by Paula M. Salvio

By Paula M. Salvio

The poet's lifestyles as a instructor.

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Additional info for Anne Sexton: Teacher of Weird Abundance (S U N Y Series, Feminist Theory in Education)

Example text

CHAPTER ONE Loss, Love, and the Work of Learning Lessons from the Teaching Life of Anne Sexton Depression is boring, I think, and I would do better to make some soup and light up the cave. —Anne Sexton, “The Fury of Rain Storms” The secret must sneak, insert, or introduce itself into the arena of public forms; it must pressure them and prod known subjects into action. . —Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari Long before her death, Anne Sexton meticulously typed her manuscripts and kept carbon copies of her letters.

Confessions work to enlist the sororial and fraternal sympathies of the listener so as to exonerate the sinner and, in turn, efface the differences between them. The confessional narrative casts Sexton as the victim, and, through the medium of narrative, she passes her guilt on to her students and readers. After all, we may very well summon up some sympathy for Sexton, secretly finding that we are more like her than we dared imagine, and, out of our own unexamined anxieties, we might very well exonerate her.

Throughout the time Sexton wrote poetry—from 1957 when, at the suggestion of her psychiatrist, she enrolled in a poetry workshop taught by John Holmes at the Boston Center for Adult Education, to the time of her death in 1974—she used writing to “make a new reality and become whole. . When writing,” Sexton explained, “it is like lying on the analyst’s couch, reenacting a private terror, and the creative mind is the analyst who gives pattern and meaning to what the persona sees as only incoherent experience” (qtd.

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