99 Famous Quotes By Anne Sexton, The Author Of The Complete Poems
Newton, Massachusetts, United States
Anne Sexton was an American poet who is best known for her Confessional poetry style. A winner of Pulitzer Prize, she zoomed to the peak of her career with her book, ‘Live or Die’. Most her Sexton’s poetic verses were based on themes of battle against depression and mania, suicidal tendencies, and various intimate details from her private life. Sexton’s foray into writing was to come out of her period of post-partum depression that she fell into after the birth of her first child. Encouraged by her therapist, she joined writing groups and soon came under the influence of prolific writers. Interestingly, unlike other writers of her generation, Sexton’s work was enormously popular during her lifetime and she received numerous honors and awards. She was without a doubt the most modern of confessional poets. Sexton openly wrote about topics that were a taboo in poetry writing. Although critics criticized her work, it did not stop her from writing on menstruation, abortion, masturbation, incest, adultery, and drug addiction. Much like her work, Sexton’s quotes were equally famous as she explored confessional themes and gave people a new perspective to look at. Her quotes touch various aspects of life including life, death, soul, immortality, belief, and so on. Read through his section and explore some quotes by her.
As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love. Watch out for intellect,
because it knows so much it knows nothing
and leaves you hanging upside down,
mouthing knowledge as your heart
falls out of your mouth. Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard. As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off. I am stuffing your mouth with your
promises and watching
you vomit them out upon my face. Even so, I must admire your skill.
You are so gracefully insane. I am alone here in my own mind.
There is no map
and there is no road.
It is one of a kind
just as yours is. Live or die, but don't poison everything. I like you; your eyes are full of language."
[Letter to Anne Clarke, July 3, 1964.] Everyone in me is a bird
I am beating all my wings I am a collection of dismantled almosts. Only my books anoint me,
and a few friends,
those who reach into my veins. Perhaps I am no one.
True, I have a body
and I cannot escape from it.
I would like to fly out of my head,
but that is out of the question. The joy that isn't shared dies young. All day I've built
a lifetime and now
the sun sinks to
undo it. I’m lost. And it’s my own fault. It’s about time I figured out that I can’t ask people to keep me found. Depression is boring, I think
and I would do better to make
some soup and light up the cave. It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was. Sometimes the soul takes pictures of things it has wished for, but never seen. Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance. She is so naked and singular.
She is the sum of yourself and your dream.
Climb her like a monument, step after step.
She is solid. Don't bite till you know if it's bread or stone. Being kissed on the back
of the knee is a moth
at the windowscreen.... Suicide is, after all, the opposite of the poem. O starry night, This is how I want to die Meanwhile in my head, I’m undergoing open-heart surgery. Once I was beautiful. Now I am myself,
Counting this row and that row of moccasins
Waiting on the silent shelf. The man
inside of woman
ties a knot
so that they will
never again be separate… Yet love enters my blood like an I.V.,
dripping in its little white moments. Take your foot out of the graveyard,
they are busy being dead. God owns heaven but He craves the earth. Now I am going back
And I have ripped my hand
From your hand as I said I would
And I have made it this far ... The soul was not cured,
it was as full as a clothes closet
of dresses that did not fit. And we are magic talking to itself,
noisy and alone. I am queen of all my sins
forgotten. Am I still lost?
Once I was beautiful. Now I am myself Writers are such phonies: they sometimes have wise insights but they don't live by them at all. That's what writers are like...you think they know something, but usually they are just messes. The beautiful feeling after writing a poem is on the whole better even than after sex, and that's saying a lot. Suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build. I burn the way money burns. Talk to me about sadness. I talk about it too much in my own head but I never mind others talking about it either; I occasionally feel like I tremendously need others to talk about it as well. Poetry is my life, my postmark, my hands, my kitchen, my face. Sometimes I fly like an eagle but with the wings of a wren I am crazy as hell, but I know it. And knowing it is a kind of sanity that makes the sickness worse. And I. I too.
Quite collected at cocktail parties,
meanwhile in my head
I'm undergoing open-heart surgery. Even without wars, life is dangerous. But I can't. Need is not quite belief. And if I tried
to give you something else,
something outside myself,
you would not know
that the worst of anyone
can be, finally,
an accident of hope Death, I need my little addiction to you. I need that tiny voice who, even as I rise from the sea, all woman, all there, says kill me, kill me. When I'm writing, I know I'm doing the thing I was born to do. Then all this became history.
Your hand found mine.
Life rushed to my fingers like a blood clot.
Oh, my carpenter,
the fingers are rebuilt.
They dance with yours. Yesterday I did not want to be borrowed but this is the typewriter that sits before me and love is where yesterday is at. The future is a fog that is still hanging out over the sea, a boat that floats home or does not. You who have inhabited me
in the deepest and most broken place,
are going, going The grass as bristly and stout as chives and me wondering when the ground will break and me wondering how anything fragile survives Give me your skin
as sheer as a cobweb,
let me open it up
and listen in and scoop out the dark. I know that I have died before—once in November. I must always forget how one word is able to pick out another, to manner another, until I have got something I might have said... but did not. Not that it was beautiful,
but that, in the end, there was
a certain sense of order there;
something worth learning
in that narrow diary of my mind Not that it was beautiful, but that I found some order there. And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in the stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone. I am your dwarf.
I am the enemy within.
I am the boss of your dreams.
See. Your hand shakes.
It is not palsy or booze.
It is your Doppelganger
trying to get out.
Beware...Beware... God has a brown voice, as soft and full as beer. Out of used furniture she made a tree. Rats live on no evil star Now I am just an elderly lady who is full of spleen,
who humps around greater Boston in a God-awful hat,
who never lived and yet outlived her time,
hating men and dogs and Democrats. The snow has quietness in it; no songs,
no smells, no shouts or traffic.
When I speak
my own voice shocks me. Being sixteen in the pants I died full of questions That’s what I do: I make coffee and occasionally succumb to suicidal nihilism. But you shouldn’t worry — poetry is still first. Cigarettes and alcohol follow Maybe I am becoming a hermit,
opening the door for only
a few special animals?
Maybe my skull is too crowded
and it has no opening through which
to feed it soup? Look to your heart
that flutters in and out like a moth.
God is not indifferent to your need.
You have a thousand prayers
but God has one. We talked death with burned-up intensity, both of us drawn to it like moths to an electric light bulb. Sucking on it! The real me lives in words, not in what words mean. I rot on the wall, my own
Dorian Gray. Need is not quite belief. If you have endured a great despair, then, you did it alone. How are you? How is your wonderful bathroom? How are the books you read and the things you think? Your dogs and their lives? The weather? Your feelings? The little girl skipped by under the wrinkled oak leaves and held fast to a replica of herself. Somebody sees me, and I see myself through them. Then it’s all gone, the whole world falls apart. Just once I knew what life was for. The windows,
the starving windows
that drive the trees like nails into my heart. Poetry led me by the hand out of madness. Quite collected at cocktail parties,
meanwhile in my head
I'm undergoing open-heart surgery. Put your mouthful of words away
and come with me to watch
the lilies open in such a field,
growing there like yachts,
slowly steering their petals
without nurses or clocks. If someone burns out your eye
I will take your socket
and use it for an ashtray. I tell you what you’ll never really know:
all the medical hypothesis
that explained my brain will never be as true as these
struck leaves letting go. Our bodies were trash.
We leave them on the shore. Our eyes are full of terrible confessions. I suffer for birds and fireflies
but not frogs, she said,
and threw him across the room.
Like a genie out of a samovar,
a handsome prince arose in the
corner of the bedroom. The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky. Consider
a girl who keeps slipping off,
arms limp as old carrots,
into the hypnotist's trance,
into a spirit world
speaking with the gift of tongues. It was as if a morning-glory had bloomed in her throat, and all that blue and small pollen ate into my heart, violent and religious
How you choose to lose yourself matters. Trust me, it’s all in the ‘how’. It matters a lot.
Now he is gone
as you are gone.
But he belongs to me like lost baggage.
I should be working and not writing you. But this is a missing you, where are you, hello and necessary for my soul.
Clover['s] eyes are full of language.
And then I knew that the voice
of the spirits had been let in--
as intense as an epileptic aura--
and that no longer would I sing
We were fair game
but we have kept out of the cesspool.
We are strong.
We are the good ones.
Do not discover us
for we lie together all in green
like pond weeds.
Hold me, my young dear, hold me. Two daughters, pretty enough
but with hearts like blackjacks.