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Anne Sexton

The collected works of Anne Sexton showcase the astonishing career of one of the twentieth century’s most influential poets For Anne Sexton, writing served as both a means of expressing the inner turmoil she experienced for most of her life and as a therapeutic force through which she exorcised her demons. Some of the richest poetic descriptions of depression, anxiety, and desperate hope can be found within Sexton’s work. The Complete Poems, which includes the eight collections published during her life, two posthumously published books, and other poems collected after her death, brings together her remarkable body of work with all of its range of emotion. With her first collection, the haunting To Bedlam and Part Way Back, Sexton stunned critics with her frank treatment of subjects like masturbation, incest, and abortion, blazing a trail for representations of the body, particularly the female body, in poetry. She documented four years of mental illness in her moving Pulitzer Prize–winning collection Live or Die, and reimagined classic fairy tales as macabre and sardonic poems in Transformations. The Awful Rowing Toward God, the last book finished in her lifetime, is an earnest and affecting meditation on the existence of God. As a whole, The Complete Poems reveals a brilliant yet tormented poet who bared her deepest urges, fears, and desires in order to create extraordinarily striking and enduring art.

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Anne Sexton

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize: A gripping poetry collection mapping the thorny journey from madness to hope With her emotionally raw and deeply resonant third collection, Live or Die, Anne Sexton confirmed her place among the most celebrated poets of the twentieth century. Sexton described the volume, which depicts a fictionalized version of her struggle with mental illness, as “a fever chart for a bad case of melancholy.” From the halls of a psychiatric hospital—“the scene of the disordered scenes” in “Flee on Your Donkey”—to a child’s playroom—“a graveyard full of dolls” in “Those Times . . .”—these gripping poems offer profound insight on the agony of depression and the staggering acts of courage and faith required to emerge from its depths. Along with other confessional poets like Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell, Sexton was known for grappling with intimate subjects traditionally considered taboo for poetry such as motherhood, menstruation, and drug dependence. Live or Die features these topics in candid and unflinching detail, as Sexton represents the full experience of being alive—and a woman—as few poets have before. Through bold images and startlingly precise language, Sexton explores the broad spectrum of human emotion ranging from desperate despair to unfettered hope.

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Anne Sexton

Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Anne Sexton morphs classic fairy tales into dark critiques of the cultural myths underpinning modern society Anne Sexton breathes new life into sixteen age-old Brothers Grimm fairy tales, reimagining them as poems infused with contemporary references, feminist ideals, and morbid humor. Grounded by nods to the ordinary—a witch’s blood “began to boil up/like Coca-Cola” and Snow White’s bodice is “as tight as an Ace bandage”—Sexton brings the stories out of the realm of the fantastical and into the everyday world. Stripping away their magical sheen, she exposes the flawed notions of family, gender, and morality within the stories that continue to pervade our collective psyche. Sexton is especially critical of what follows these tales’ happily-ever-after endings, noting that Cinderella never has to face the mundane struggles of marriage and growing old, such as “diapers and dust,” “telling the same story twice,” or “getting a middle-aged spread,” and that after being awakened Sleeping Beauty would likely be plagued by insomnia, taking “knock-out drops” behind the prince’s back. Deconstructed into vivid, visceral, and often highly amusing poems, these fairy tales reflect themes that have long fascinated Sexton—the claustrophobic anxiety of domestic life, the limited role of women in society, and a psychological strife more dangerous than any wicked witch or poisoned apple.

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Christian Wiman

A moving meditation on memory, oblivion, and eternity by one of our most celebrated poets What is it we want when we can’t stop wanting? And how do we make that hunger productive and vital rather than corrosive and destructive? These are the questions that animate Christian Wiman as he explores the relationships between art and faith, death and fame, heaven and oblivion. Above all, He Held Radical Light is a love letter to poetry, filled with moving, surprising, and sometimes funny encounters with the poets Wiman has known. Seamus Heaney opens a suddenly intimate conversation about faith; Mary Oliver puts half of a dead pigeon in her pocket; A. R. Ammons stands up in front of an audience and refuses to read. He Held Radical Light is as urgent and intense as it is lively and entertaining—a sharp sequel to Wiman’s earlier memoir, My Bright Abyss.

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Anne Sexton

A revealing collection of letters from Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Anne Sexton While confessional poet Anne Sexton included details of her life and battle with mental illness in her published work, her letters to family, friends, and fellow poets provide an even more intimate glimpse into her private world. Selected from thousands of letters and edited by Linda Gray Sexton, the poet’s daughter, and Lois Ames, one of her closest friends, this collection exposes Sexton’s inner life from her boarding school days through her years of growing fame and ultimately to the months leading up to her suicide. Correspondence with writers like W. D. Snodgrass, Robert Lowell, and May Swenson reveals Sexton’s growing confidence in her identity as a poet as she discusses her craft, publications, and teaching appointments. Her private letters chart her marriage to Alfred “Kayo” Sexton, from the giddy excitement following their elopement to their eventual divorce; her grief over the death of her parents; her great love for her daughters balanced with her frustration with the endless tasks of being a housewife; and her persistent struggle with depression. Going beyond the angst and neuroses of her poetry, these letters portray the full complexities of the woman behind the art: passionate, anguished, ambitious, and yearning for connection.

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Gail Caldwell

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER They met over their dogs. Gail Caldwell and Caroline Knapp (author of Drinking: A Love Story) became best friends, talking about everything from their love of books and their shared history of a struggle with alcohol to their relationships with men. Walking the woods of New England and rowing on the Charles River, these two private, self-reliant women created an attachment more profound than either of them could ever have foreseen. Then, several years into this remarkable connection, Knapp was diagnosed with cancer. With her signature exquisite prose, Caldwell mines the deepest levels of devotion, and courage in this gorgeous memoir about treasuring a best friend, and coming of age in midlife. Let’s Take the Long Way Home is a celebration of the profound transformations that come from intimate connection—and it affirms, once again, why Gail Caldwell is recognized as one of our bravest and most honest literary voices. Look for special features inside. Join the Circle for author chats and more. RandomHouseReadersCircle.com BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Gail Caldwell's New Life, No Instructions.

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Gale, Cengage Learning

A Study Guide for Anne Sexton's "Courage," excerpted from Gale's acclaimed Poetry for Students. This concise study guide includes plot summary; character analysis; author biography; study questions; historical context; suggestions for further reading; and much more. For any literature project, trust Poetry for Students for all of your research needs.

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Larry Levis

Since the appearance of his first book in 1972, Larry Levis has been one of the most original and most highly praised of contemporary American poets. In Winter Stars, a book of love poems and elegies, Levis engages in a process of relentless self-interrogation about his life, about losses and acceptances. What emerges is not merely autobiography, but a biography of the reader, a “representative life” of our time.

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C. Steele

Through an examination of the poetry of Anne Sexton, Audre Lorde, and Gloria Anzaldúa, We Heal From Memory paints a vivid picture of how our culture carries a history of traumatic violence - child sexual abuse, the ownership and enforcement of women's sexuality under slavery, the transmission of violence through generations, and the destruction of non-white cultures and their histories through colonization. According to Cassie Premo Steele, the poetry of Sexton, Lorde, and Anzaldúa allows us to witness and to heal from such disparate traumatic events.

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Linda Gray Sexton

Linda Gray Sextons critically acclaimed memoir is an honest, unsparing account of the anguish and fierce love that bound a brilliant, difficult mother and the daughter she left behind. Linda Sexton was twenty-one when her mother killed herself, and now she looks back, remembers, and tries to come to terms with her mothers life. Life with Anne was a wild mixture of suicidal depression and manic happiness, inappropriate behavior, and midnight trips to the psychiatric ward. Anne taught Linda how to write, how to see, how to imagine—and only Linda could have written a book that captures so vividly the intimate details and lingering emotions of their life together. Searching for Mercy Street speaks to everyone who admires Anne Sexton and to every daughter or son who knows the pain of an imperfect childhood. This beautiful new trade paperback edition includes a new introduction by the author.

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Dawn M. Skorczewski

In 1956, Anne Sexton was admitted into a mental hospital for post-partum depression, where she met Dr. Martin Orne, a young psychiatrist who treated her for the next eight years. In that time Sexton would blossom into a world-famous poet, best known for her "confessional" poems dealing with personal subjects not often represented in poetry at that time: mental illness, depression, suicide, sex, abortion, women's bodies, and the ordinary lives of mothers and housewives. Orne audiotaped the last three years of her therapy to facilitate her ability to remember their sessions. The final six months of these tapes are the focus of this book. In An Accident of Hope, Dawn Skorczewski links the content of the therapy with poetry excerpts, offering a rare perspective on the artist's experience and creative process. We can see Sexton attempting to make sense of her life and therapy and to sustain her confidence as a major poet, while struggling with the impending loss of Orne, who was moving elsewhere. Skorczewski's study provides an intimate, in-depth view of the therapy of a psychologically tortured yet immensely creative woman, during a period of emerging feminism and cultural change. Tracing the mutual development of the poet and the therapist during their years together, the author explores the tension between the classical therapeutic setting as practiced in the early 1960s and contemporary relational and developmental concepts in psychoanalysis, just then beginning to emerge. An Accident of Hope also raises broader questions about the nature of healing in psychotherapy. The poet and therapist we encounter in these sessions present complex and conflicted images of the therapeutic and creative process. Orne, equal parts honesty and hesitancy, works to bolster Sexton's self-image and maintain that she is more than the sum of her poetry. Sexton, working against a tendency to hide from her most painful feelings, valiantly pushes to tell the truth in therapy, while her poems invite the readers to see another side of the story. Just as Orne kept the audiotapes so that one day they might help others who suffer, An Accident of Hope tells the story of a therapy but moves beyond it. By offering a glimpse into the past, the present is open for reappraisal, both of Sexton herself and the legacy of psychoanalytic treatment.

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Anne Sexton

A revealing collection of letters from Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Anne Sexton While confessional poet Anne Sexton included details of her life and battle with mental illness in her published work, her letters to family, friends, and fellow poets provide an even more intimate glimpse into her private world. Selected from thousands of letters and edited by Linda Gray Sexton, the poet’s daughter, and Lois Ames, one of her closest friends, this collection exposes Sexton’s inner life from her boarding school days through her years of growing fame and ultimately to the months leading up to her suicide. Correspondence with writers like W. D. Snodgrass, Robert Lowell, and May Swenson reveals Sexton’s growing confidence in her identity as a poet as she discusses her craft, publications, and teaching appointments. Her private letters chart her marriage to Alfred “Kayo” Sexton, from the giddy excitement following their elopement to their eventual divorce; her grief over the death of her parents; her great love for her daughters balanced with her frustration with the endless tasks of being a housewife; and her persistent struggle with depression. Going beyond the angst and neuroses of her poetry, these letters portray the full complexities of the woman behind the art: passionate, anguished, ambitious, and yearning for connection.

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Ayn Carrillo-Gailey

When Ayn Carrillo-Gailey confronted her boyfriend about his porn habit, he pronounced her “pornophobic.” Determined to prove she wasn't phobic, simply more enlightened, Ayn set out to learn all she could about this phenomenon. Like any good researcher, she added her new quest to her daily To-Do list: 1. Drop off dry cleaning 2. Call Mom 3. Visit sex toy store on Melrose Acting as an amateur anthropologist introduced Ayn to a world populated by everyday people. Her quest aroused the curiosity of her female friends: her knitting group quickly turned into informal information sessions, as the women-single or married, involved or not-were desperate for information. What does XXX mean vs. un-rated? What's the difference between topless dancers and strip clubs? Why is some of it actually not that stimulating? And why are men obsessed with it? Along the way, Ayn ditched the porn-obsessed boyfriend, and learned that one should not try to make change from a stripper's G-string tips, nor is the Hustler store the best place to make a first impression on a hot guy. Pornology is the result of one woman's quest to pierce the veil that modestly covers something many women actually want to know about. Suprising, hilarious, informative, and ultimately non-judgmental, this narrative is one readers won't put down-once they admit they're curious enough to pick it up!

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Linda Gray Sexton

Linda Gray Sextons critically acclaimed memoir is an honest, unsparing account of the anguish and fierce love that bound a brilliant, difficult mother and the daughter she left behind. Linda Sexton was twenty-one when her mother killed herself, and now she looks back, remembers, and tries to come to terms with her mothers life. Life with Anne was a wild mixture of suicidal depression and manic happiness, inappropriate behavior, and midnight trips to the psychiatric ward. Anne taught Linda how to write, how to see, how to imagine—and only Linda could have written a book that captures so vividly the intimate details and lingering emotions of their life together. Searching for Mercy Street speaks to everyone who admires Anne Sexton and to every daughter or son who knows the pain of an imperfect childhood. This beautiful new trade paperback edition includes a new introduction by the author.

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Deborah Nelson

Pursuing Privacy in Cold War America explores the relationship between confessional poetry and constitutional privacy doctrine, both of which emerged at the end of the 1950s. While the public declarations of the Supreme Court and the private declamations of the lyric poet may seem unrelated, both express the upheavals in American notions of privacy that marked the Cold War era. Nelson situates the poetry and legal decisions as part of a far wider anxiety about privacy that erupted across the social, cultural, and political spectrum during this period. She explores the panic over the "death of privacy" aroused by broad changes in postwar culture: the growth of suburbia, the advent of television, the popularity of psychoanalysis, the arrival of computer databases, and the spectacles of confession associated with McCarthyism. Examining this interchange between poetry and law at its most intense moments of reflection in the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, Deborah Nelson produces a rhetorical analysis of a privacy concept integral to postwar America's self-definition and to bedrock contradictions in Cold War ideology. Nelson argues that the desire to stabilize privacy in a constitutional right and the movement toward confession in postwar American poetry were not simply manifestations of the anxiety about privacy. Supreme Court justices and confessional poets such as Anne Sexton, Robert Lowell, W. D. Snodgrass, and Sylvia Plath were redefining the nature of privacy itself. Close reading of the poetry alongside the Supreme Court's shifting definitions of privacy in landmark decisions reveals a broader and deeper cultural metaphor at work.

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Tom Nissley

A witty and addictively readable day-by-day literary companion. At once a love letter to literature and a charming guide to the books most worth reading, A Reader's Book of Days features bite-size accounts of events in the lives of great authors for every day of the year. Here is Marcel Proust starting In Search of Lost Time and Virginia Woolf scribbling in the margin of her own writing, "Is it nonsense, or is it brilliance?" Fictional events that take place within beloved books are also included: the birth of Harry Potter’s enemy Draco Malfoy, the blood-soaked prom in Stephen King’s Carrie. A Reader's Book of Days is filled with memorable and surprising tales from the lives and works of Martin Amis, Jane Austen, James Baldwin, Roberto Bolano, the Brontë sisters, Junot Díaz, Philip K. Dick, Charles Dickens, Joan Didion, F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Keats, Hilary Mantel, Haruki Murakami, Flannery O’Connor, Orhan Pamuk, George Plimpton, Marilynne Robinson, W. G. Sebald, Dr. Seuss, Zadie Smith, Susan Sontag, Hunter S. Thompson, Leo Tolstoy, David Foster Wallace, and many more. The book also notes the days on which famous authors were born and died; it includes lists of recommended reading for every month of the year as well as snippets from book reviews as they appeared across literary history; and throughout there are wry illustrations by acclaimed artist Joanna Neborsky. Brimming with nearly 2,000 stories, A Reader's Book of Days will have readers of every stripe reaching for their favorite books and discovering new ones.

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Linda Gray Sexton

The Sexton family's long love affair with the Dalmatian began in Linda's childhood. There, on a snowy morning in the family home just outside Boston, LInda heard a whimpering coming from the basement. She discovered their first family dog giving birth to a litter. Witnessing the intimate act of birth had a profound effect on the family. Her mother, Anne, used the experience to complete the poem Live, part of her third collection, titled Live or Die , which would be awarded a Pulitzer Prize. For Linda, the boundless joy of both breed and breeding triggered in her a lifelong love of Dalmatians. All told, thirty-eight Dalmatians will move through her life: the ones that cheer and support her through difficulty, divorce, and depression; the ones that stay with her as she enters the world of professional breeding and showing of Dals; and, of course, the one true dog of her heart, Gulliver, her most stalwart of canine champions. Bespotted is a page-turning and compelling look at the unique place dogs occupy in our lives. It captures another piece of this literary family's history, taps into the curious and fascinating world of dog showing/dog fancy. Bespotted is an upbeat and commercial memoir by one of the most critically acclaimed memoirists of our time.

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Edward Dorn

Fiftieth Anniversary Edition "Gunslinger is a fundamental American masterpiece."---Thomas McGuane This fiftieth anniversary edition commemorates Edward Dorn’s masterpiece, Gunslinger, a comic, anti-epic critique of American capitalism that still resonates today. Set in the American West, the Gunslinger, his talking horse Claude Lévi-Strauss, a saloon madam named Lil, and the narrator called “I” set out in search of the billionaire Howard Hughes. As they travel along the Rio Grande to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and finally on to Colorado, they are joined by a whole host of colorful characters: Dr. Jean Flamboyant, Kool Everything, and Taco Desoxin and his partner Tonto Pronto. During their adventures and hijinks, as captured in Dorn’s multilayered, absurd, and postmodern voice, they joke and smoke their way through debates about the meaning of existence. Put simply, Gunslinger is an American classic. In a new foreword Marjorie Perloff discusses Gunslinger's continued relevance to contemporary politics. This new edition also includes a critical essay by Michael Davidson and Charles Olson’s idiosyncratic “Bibliography on America for Ed Dorn,” which he wrote to provide guidance for Dorn's study of, and writing about, the American West.

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Richard Hugo

"Richard Hugo's free-swinging, go-for-it remarks on poetry and the teaching of poetry are exactly what are needed in classrooms and in the world."—James Dickey Richard Hugo was that rare phenomenon of American letters—a distinguished poet who was also an inspiring teacher. The Triggering Town is Hugo's now-classic collection of lectures, essays, and reflections, all "directed toward helping with that silly, absurd, maddening, futile, enormously rewarding activity: writing poems." Anyone, from the beginning poet to the mature writer to the lover of literature, will benefit greatly from Hugo's sayd, playful, profound insights and advice concerning the mysteries of literary creation.

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Adrienne Rich

In this collection of prose writings, one of America's foremost poets and feminist theorists reflects upon themes that have shaped her life and work. At issue are the politics of language; the uses of scholarship; and the topics of racism, history, and motherhood among others called forth by Rich as "part of the effort to define a female consciousness which is political, aesthetic, and erotic, and which refuses to be included or contained in the culture of passivity."

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Sharon Olds

In this wise and intimate new book, Sharon Olds tells the story of a divorce, embracing strands of love, sex, sorrow, memory, and new freedom. As she carries us through the seasons when her marriage was ending, Olds opens her heart to the reader, sharing the feeling of invisibility that comes when we are no longer standing in love’s sight; the surprising physical bond that still exists between a couple during parting; the loss of everything from her husband’s smile to the set of his hip; the radical change in her sense of place in the world. Olds is naked before us, curious and brave and even generous toward the man who was her mate for thirty years and who now loves another woman. As she writes in the remarkable “Stag’s Leap,” “When anyone escapes, my heart / leaps up. Even when it’s I who am escaped from, / I am half on the side of the leaver.” Olds’s propulsive poetic line and the magic of her imagery are as lively as ever, and there is a new range to the music—sometimes headlong, sometimes contemplative and deep. Her unsparing approach to both pain and love makes this one of the finest, most powerful books of poetry she has yet given us.

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Martha Serpas

"At once a love song and a dirge to a landscape being swallowed by the waters that define it."—St. Petersburg Times An evocative meditation on destruction and creation, the sacred and ephemeral, along Louisiana's coast. In poems that bear witness to the eroding bayou country and its Cajun culture, Martha Serpas venerates a vanishing landscape defined by water—sensuous, fecund, and destructive. As marsh turns into gulf, identity and consciousness are transformed as well. Serpas's verses invest paradox with her own defiantly spiritual meaning.

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Sylvia Plath

Originally published in 1960, The Colossus was the only volume of Sylvia Plath's poetry published before her death in 1963. Showing a scholarly dedication to the craft, the poems in this collection are brimming with originality and the startling imagery that would later confirm her status as one of the most important poets of the twentieth century. 'On every page, a poet is serving notice that she has earned her credentials and knows her trade.' Seamus Heaney 'She steers clear of feminine charm, deliciousness, gentility, supersensitivity and the act of being a poetess. She simply writes good poetry. And she does so with a seriousness that demands only that she be judged equally seriously . . . There is an admirable no-nonsense air about this; the language is bare but vivid and precise, with a concentration that implies a good deal of disturbance with proportionately little fuss.' A. Alvarez in the Observer

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Patricia Godi

Voici la traversée de l'oeuvre d'une figure majeure parmi les poètes dits "confessionnels" de Boston à la fin des années 50, autour de Robert Lowell et Sylvia Plath. Anne Sexton constitue une icône de la poésie écrite par les femmes aux Etats-Unis dans la deuxième moitié du XXe siècle. Après la naissance de ses deux filles, elle traverse une grave dépression. Encouragée à écrire par son psychiatre, elle se découvre un talent exceptionnel pour la poésie qui donnera sens à sa vie.

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David Stahler, Jr.

Doppelgangers are monsters, hardwired for murder. They are not supposed to have doubts, but this one does. He wishes he could be different. More human, maybe. But even that can't stop him from killing people so he can take their places and live their lives. He has to do it; it's who he is. But when the doppelganger murders a small-town teenager, assumes his shape, and takes over his life, he's shocked by the world he steps into. Engulfed in a whirlwind of peer pressure, messy family dynamics, and a provocative relationship with a beautiful girl, he quickly learns that there's more than one way to be human, and many ways to be a monster. Told in the tortured voice of a most extraordinary teen, this contemporary gothic romance brews a captivating combination of violence, desire, and atonement. Here is the story of a monster yearning for a human life.