The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton book  » Books  »
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  • Like the 1999 movie 'The Matrix', which revolutionized camera angles, story telling, and amazing effects, Sexton has raised the bar to near impossibility when it comes to original expression and to the bone perceptions of herself and her own vivid moments of insanity

    • by onerios13
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      I almost wanted to put this review under ‘religion’ for that is how deeply affected I am by this incredible woman’s poetry.

      I first discovered Anne Sexton when I became a member of allpoetry.com (see review of this site in my collection), and after reading a piece entitled “Buying the Whore” on someone’s author page, I was hooked like a fish straight through the eye and hauled onto her shore without the slightest of struggles.

      Sexton is most assuredly not for the faint of heart. If your tastes in poetry run towards the banality of ‘roses are red, violets are blue’, then run the opposite direction. Fast. Not only will she devour you with her brutal brilliance, but she will spit out your bones without a single apology right after sucking out the marrow.

      Of all the ‘Confessional’ poets published, whose ranks include the Great Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell, Sexton still stands head and shoulders above everyone, casting a shadow that stretches over worlds and sometimes even entire universes. To fully appreciate her extraordinary ability to wrestle mere words into indescribable creations of pure artistry, one must take an entire semester dedicated to her works, and find themselves holding on to shredded pieces of their soul


      while staring into the yawning abyss and suffering to have it stare right back.

      For she has done this, and done it well. And from that black space, she brings back hoarded treasures of pain, anguish and incredible imagery. Like the 1999 movie ‘The Matrix’, which revolutionized camera angles, story telling, and amazing effects, Sexton has raised the bar to near impossibility when it comes to original expression and to the bone perceptions of herself and her own vivid moments of insanity.

      Her poetry literally scratches at your face, peeling back the skin to reveal the pink, lacerating the mind and gives new meaning to the word ‘naked’. For she is not simply nude, which means ‘without clothing’, but naked as in vulnerable, opened, exposed. She flinches from nothing and by proxy, you cannot either, your senses flooding with her riveting experiences and exquisite dilemmas which can be summed up in one poignant sentence: Why do I still exist?

      However, the last emotion you will feel for this indelible poet is pity. Not when you read her words. No, what will most likely snake out to snap and snarl at you, rather, is ENVY. Sheer jealously that God had been so unfair as to unleash so much ...


      • talent and unadulterated skill onto just one single human being.

        There are times I am afraid to open this book and ponder her epiphanies. Her effect is akin to watching the ravings of mad prophets and enduring the crazed melodies of watery sirens who seek to destroy others so that they might continue to live. There is such power embedded in these pages, and even more extraordinary is the fact that she lived in a time when women were considerably without power. She is the godmother of Neo-Nazi Feminists everywhere.

        And yet, there is such beauty. Such incredible soaring softness. A few examples which come to mind are: “I Remember”, “Just Once”, and “Small Wire”. Oh, her words will make you bleed, make you come alive, sweat with awe and tremble that a voice this sublime has been silenced far before her time.

        Sexton committed suicide in 1974 when in her 40’s, unable and unwilling to fight any longer the big sleep. Yet, you will find clues to how hard she did fight; how magnificent her struggles were, and how epic her battles which are now framed forever in these pages of white and simple letters. Examples that spring to mind: “45 Mercy Street”, “Ringing the

        Bells”, “Those Times”, “The Abortion”, “The Truth the Dead Know”.

        I dare you, double, triple-dog dare you to peruse her words and not feel something. And not just something, but thoughts and emotions you never knew you had, or had forgotten upon waking up from the fog of dreams. She is one of those few people in the literary world that will plant her footprints in the puzzle of your spine, make you cross-eyed with wonder, and strike fear into your heart that someone has actually found a pipeline to the Divine within us all.

        This book needs to be on every shelf that has a modicum of respect for the power of the written word. And for those of you that live and breath the essence of poetry, you should chop up this book, bake it into a pie so you can swallow down all the juices of this extraordinary poet.

        And then maybe one day, if you are very very lucky, you, too, can sing a refrain from her songs.

        *This review only allows the reviewer to rank 10 as the highest mark. But that is not nearly high enough to this reviewer. If I could, this book would receive a number that hasn’t been dreamed of yet.




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