Anne Sexton, "secret beatnik" in the suburbs
Plus: Advice on writing a book
It’s National Poetry Month! Last week, we looked at the Caribbean poet Derek Walcott’s “private preparatory rituals.” This week, Anne Sexton’s quest for just a little writing time.
Anne Sexton (1928–1974)
Last week’s announcement of the 2020 Guggenheim Fellows happened to come at the same time that I was reading Anne Sexton’s A Self-Portrait in Letters, an invaluable glimpse into the inner life of the brilliant and troubled American poet. In 1959, Sexton was hoping to win “a Guggy” herself, and her mentions of the fellowship provide a window into the circumstances of her writing life at the time, when she was just starting out as a poet while also spending most of the day with her two young daughters. Here she is in October 1959, writing to a fellow poet: