“rare film clips” of Anne Sexton

I’ve decided to do my paper for Eng 598 on Anne Sexton (on what she does with traditional religion in her later poetry), so it was kind of cool to find this video. I did the math today and realized she was 45 — the same age I am now — when she committed suicide. I don’t know why coincidences like that should feel significant to me, but they do. I am very much looking forward to getting into her life (and death).

“Her Kind” (from To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960))
I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

And here’s another one, with Sexton reading “All My Pretty Ones,” and with Peter Gabriel’s song “Mercy Street — for Anne Sexton” (1986). What a rich deep voice she has (had).


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