Anne Sexton (and her Kind)

From ANNE SEXTON a biography by Diane Wood Middlebrook

“When he’s gone (Kayo) I want to be with someone, I want lights and music and talk. When I say running I don’t mean running from something, but something I express by action – people, people, talk, talk, wanting to stay up all night, no way to stop it. I don’t really want to have an affair with anyone, but I have to; it’s the quality of action.”

“I was trying my damnedest to lead a conventional life, for that was how I was brought up, and picket fences to keep nightmares out. The surface cracked when I was about twenty-eight. I had a psychotic break and I tried to kill myself.”

“I’m so alone – nothing seems worth while – I walk from room to room trying to think of something to do – for a while I will do something, make cookies or clean the bathroom – make beds – answer the telephone – but all along I have this almost terrible energy in me and nothing seems to help… I sit in a chair and try to read a magazine and I twirl my hair until it is a mass of snarls – then as I pass a mirror I see myself and comb it again… Then I walk up and down the room – back and forth – and I feel like a caged tiger.”

” I Kept writing and writing and giving them all to him (Dr. M.Orne) – just from transference; I kept writing because he was approving.”

“Mother makes me sick but I love her.”

“When I first got sick and became a displaced person, I thought I was quite alone, but when I went into the mental hospital, I found I wasn’t, that there were other people like me. It made me feel better – more real, sane. I felt, “These are my people.” Well, at the John Holmes workshop that I attended for two years, I found I belonged to the poets, that I was real there, and I had another “These are my people.”

“Only time I’m there is when I am thinking about poetry or writing – shuffling between methods of escape – liquor, pills, writing – I don’t have anything else.”

“I realize, with guilt, that I am a woman, that it should be the children, or my husband, or my home – not writing. But it is not – I do love my children but am not feminine enough to be all lost in their care. It wears me – I do not have the patience. (How can you really know what I mean – you have never been worn down by a nagging child?) … But of course, I am truly neurotic enough so that I don’t want intrusion by people – and children are people – every five minutes of the day. I suppose one of my truth confession was going to be “I am not sick” – and just realized in a way, this is sick.”





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