Authors: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

99 Famous Quotes By Anne Sexton, The Author Of The Complete Poems

Famous As: Poet
Born On: November 9, 1928
Died On: October 4, 1974
Born In: Newton, Massachusetts, United States
Died At Age: 45
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.
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As it has been said:
Love and a cough
cannot be concealed.
Even a small cough.
Even a small love.

As it has been said: Love and a cough cannot be concealed. Even a small cough. Even a small love.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.

Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.

Anne Sexton
As for me, I am a watercolor. 
I wash off.

As for me, I am a watercolor. I wash off.

Anne Sexton
I am stuffing your mouth with your
promises and watching 
you vomit them out upon my face.

I am stuffing your mouth with your promises and watching you vomit them out upon my face.

Anne Sexton
Even so, I must admire your skill. 
You are so gracefully insane.

Even so, I must admire your skill. You are so gracefully insane.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
Live or die, but don't poison everything.

Live or die, but don't poison everything.

Anne Sexton
I like you; your eyes are full of language.

I like you; your eyes are full of language." [Letter to Anne Clarke, July 3, 1964.]

Anne Sexton
Everyone in me is a bird
I am beating all my wings

Everyone in me is a bird I am beating all my wings

Anne Sexton
I am a collection of dismantled almosts.

I am a collection of dismantled almosts.

Anne Sexton
Only my books anoint me, 
and a few friends, 
those who reach into my veins.

Only my books anoint me, and a few friends, those who reach into my veins.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
The joy that isn't shared dies young.

The joy that isn't shared dies young.

Anne Sexton
All day I've built
a lifetime and now
the sun sinks to
undo it.

All day I've built a lifetime and now the sun sinks to undo it.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
Depression is boring, I think
and I would do better to make
some soup and light up the cave.

Depression is boring, I think and I would do better to make some soup and light up the cave.

Anne Sexton
It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.

It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.

Anne Sexton
Sometimes the soul takes pictures of things it has wished for, but never seen.

Sometimes the soul takes pictures of things it has wished for, but never seen.

Anne Sexton
Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.

Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
Don't bite till you know if it's bread or stone.

Don't bite till you know if it's bread or stone.

Anne Sexton
Suicide is, after all, the opposite of the poem.

Suicide is, after all, the opposite of the poem.

Anne Sexton
Being kissed on the back 
of the knee is a moth 
at the windowscreen....

Being kissed on the back of the knee is a moth at the windowscreen....

Anne Sexton
O starry night, This is how I want to die

O starry night, This is how I want to die

Anne Sexton
Meanwhile in my head, I’m undergoing open-heart surgery.

Meanwhile in my head, I’m undergoing open-heart surgery.

Anne Sexton
Once I was beautiful. Now I am myself,
Counting this row and that row of moccasins
Waiting on the silent shelf.

Once I was beautiful. Now I am myself, Counting this row and that row of moccasins Waiting on the silent shelf.

Anne Sexton
The man 
inside of woman 
ties a knot 
so that they will 
never again be separate…

The man inside of woman ties a knot so that they will never again be separate…

Anne Sexton
Take your foot out of the graveyard, 
they are busy being dead.

Take your foot out of the graveyard, they are busy being dead.

Anne Sexton
Yet love enters my blood like an I.V., 
dripping in its little white moments.

Yet love enters my blood like an I.V., dripping in its little white moments.

Anne Sexton
God owns heaven but He craves the earth.

God owns heaven but He craves the earth.

Anne Sexton
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

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

Anne Sexton
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 ...

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 ...

Anne Sexton
The soul was not cured, 
it was as full as a clothes closet 
of dresses that did not fit.

The soul was not cured, it was as full as a clothes closet of dresses that did not fit.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
The beautiful feeling after writing a poem is on the whole better even than after sex, and that's saying a lot.

The beautiful feeling after writing a poem is on the whole better even than after sex, and that's saying a lot.

Anne Sexton
Suicides have a special language. 
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.

Suicides have a special language. Like carpenters they want to know which tools. They never ask why build.

Anne Sexton
I burn the way money burns.

I burn the way money burns.

Anne Sexton
Sometimes I fly like an eagle but with the wings of a wren

Sometimes I fly like an eagle but with the wings of a wren

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
Poetry is my life, my postmark, my hands, my kitchen, my face.

Poetry is my life, my postmark, my hands, my kitchen, my face.

Anne Sexton
I am crazy as hell, but I know it. And knowing it is a kind of sanity that makes the sickness worse.

I am crazy as hell, but I know it. And knowing it is a kind of sanity that makes the sickness worse.

Anne Sexton
And I. I too.
Quite collected at cocktail parties,
meanwhile in my head
I'm undergoing open-heart surgery.

And I. I too. Quite collected at cocktail parties, meanwhile in my head I'm undergoing open-heart surgery.

Anne Sexton
Even without wars, life is dangerous.

Even without wars, life is dangerous.

Anne Sexton
But I can't. Need is not quite belief.

But I can't. Need is not quite belief.

Anne Sexton
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

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

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
When I'm writing, I know I'm doing the thing I was born to do.

When I'm writing, I know I'm doing the thing I was born to do.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
Yesterday I did not want to be borrowed but this is the typewriter that sits before me and love is where yesterday is at.

Yesterday I did not want to be borrowed but this is the typewriter that sits before me and love is where yesterday is at.

Anne Sexton
The future is a fog that is still hanging out over the sea, a boat that floats home or does not.

The future is a fog that is still hanging out over the sea, a boat that floats home or does not.

Anne Sexton
You who have inhabited me 
in the deepest and most broken place, 
are going, going

You who have inhabited me in the deepest and most broken place, are going, going

Anne Sexton
The grass as bristly and stout as chives and me wondering when the ground will break and me wondering how anything fragile survives

The grass as bristly and stout as chives and me wondering when the ground will break and me wondering how anything fragile survives

Anne Sexton
Give me your skin 
as sheer as a cobweb, 
let me open it up 
and listen in and scoop out the dark.

Give me your skin as sheer as a cobweb, let me open it up and listen in and scoop out the dark.

Anne Sexton
I know that I have died before—once in November.

I know that I have died before—once in November.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
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, in the end, there was a certain sense of order there; something worth learning in that narrow diary of my mind

Anne Sexton
Not that it was beautiful, but that I found some order there.

Not that it was beautiful, but that I found some order there.

Anne Sexton
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...

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...

Anne Sexton
God has a brown voice, as soft and full as beer.

God has a brown voice, as soft and full as beer.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
Out of used furniture she made a tree.

Out of used furniture she made a tree.

Anne Sexton
Rats live on no evil star

Rats live on no evil star

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
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

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

Anne Sexton
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?

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?

Anne Sexton
The snow has quietness in it; no songs,
no smells, no shouts or traffic.
When I speak
my own voice shocks me.

The snow has quietness in it; no songs, no smells, no shouts or traffic. When I speak my own voice shocks me.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
Being sixteen in the pants I died full of questions

Being sixteen in the pants I died full of questions

Anne Sexton
If you have endured a great despair, then, you did it alone.

If you have endured a great despair, then, you did it alone.

Anne Sexton
The real me lives in words, not in what words mean.

The real me lives in words, not in what words mean.

Anne Sexton
We talked death with burned-up intensity, both of us drawn to it like moths to an electric light bulb. Sucking on it!

We talked death with burned-up intensity, both of us drawn to it like moths to an electric light bulb. Sucking on it!

Anne Sexton
Our bodies were trash.
We leave them on the shore.

Our bodies were trash. We leave them on the shore.

Anne Sexton
I rot on the wall, my own
Dorian Gray.

I rot on the wall, my own Dorian Gray.

Anne Sexton
Need is not quite belief.

Need is not quite belief.

Anne Sexton
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?

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?

Anne Sexton
Somebody sees me, and I see myself through them. Then it’s all gone, the whole world falls apart.

Somebody sees me, and I see myself through them. Then it’s all gone, the whole world falls apart.

Anne Sexton
Just once I knew what life was for.

Just once I knew what life was for.

Anne Sexton
The little girl skipped by under the wrinkled oak leaves and held fast to a replica of herself.

The little girl skipped by under the wrinkled oak leaves and held fast to a replica of herself.

Anne Sexton
Poetry led me by the hand out of madness.

Poetry led me by the hand out of madness.

Anne Sexton
If someone burns out your eye
I will take your socket
and use it for an ashtray.

If someone burns out your eye I will take your socket and use it for an ashtray.

Anne Sexton
Some women marry houses.

Some women marry houses.

Anne Sexton
The windows,
the starving windows
that drive the trees like nails into my heart.

The windows, the starving windows that drive the trees like nails into my heart.

Anne Sexton
Quite collected at cocktail parties,
meanwhile in my head
I'm undergoing open-heart surgery.

Quite collected at cocktail parties, meanwhile in my head I'm undergoing open-heart surgery.

Anne Sexton
Our eyes are full of terrible confessions.

Our eyes are full of terrible confessions.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
Two daughters, pretty enough
but with hearts like blackjacks.

Two daughters, pretty enough but with hearts like blackjacks.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton
I suffer for birds and fireflies
but not frogs, she said,
and threw him across the room.
Kaboom!
Like a genie out of a samovar,
a handsome prince arose in the 
corner of the bedroom.

I suffer for birds and fireflies but not frogs, she said, and threw him across the room. Kaboom! Like a genie out of a samovar, a handsome prince arose in the corner of the bedroom.

Anne Sexton
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

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

Anne Sexton
The town does not exist
except where one black-haired tree slips
up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.

The town does not exist except where one black-haired tree slips up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.

Anne Sexton
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
alone.

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 alone.

Anne Sexton
How you choose to lose yourself matters. Trust me, it’s all in the ‘how’. It matters a lot.

How you choose to lose yourself matters. Trust me, it’s all in the ‘how’. It matters a lot.

Anne Sexton
Clover['s] eyes are full of language.

Clover['s] eyes are full of language.

Anne Sexton
Now he is gone
as you are gone.
But he belongs to me like lost baggage.

Now he is gone as you are gone. But he belongs to me like lost baggage.

Anne Sexton
I should be working and not writing you. But this is a missing you, where are you, hello and necessary for my soul.

I should be working and not writing you. But this is a missing you, where are you, hello and necessary for my soul.

Anne Sexton
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.

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.

Anne Sexton