An important figure in the Confessionalist movement of poetry, Anne Sexton (19281974) wrote extremely dark and extremely personal poetry about her life. She grew up and spent most of her adulthood in Massachusetts, and studied at Boston University with Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath. Plath and Sexton remained friends for the remainder of Plath's life. She was married in 1948 and had two children. In October 1974, she lost her fight with her mental illness and died of suicide.
Anne Sexton, unlike her counterpart Sylvia Plath, received many accolades for her work during her life. Sexton was the first female member of the honor society Phi Beta Kappa. In 1967, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book Live or Die.
Her struggle with depression, relationships with her children and husband, and her suicidal tendencies were common subjects of her poems. Sexton's poetry is widely remembered for dealing with issues particular to women (like abortion and menstruation) before it was common to do so.
Notable Works Include:
- Live or Die (1966)
- Transformations (1971)
- 45 Mercy Street (1975)
Tropes in the work of Anne Sexton:
- Ballad of X: "The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator"
- Fairy Tale: Her book of poetry Transformations is a series of poems that are adaptations of famous fairy tales, including "Cinderella" and "Briar Rose".