Monday, 18 January 2010

anne sexton

the anne sexton reading continues so i was delighted to find the bbc broadcasting something about her. the programme's a bit of a jumble - it's not always clear who's speaking but, as a brief insight into sexton's life, it functions well. there's a good bit of poetry which, if you like sexton, you'll like and if you don't, you won't.

one of handy things in looking at sexton is the number of documents available. i'm not comfortable with her psychotherapy transcripts, actor read or not, and one can only imagine how hard listening to these, or reading some of her letters, must have been for her daughters. even in the programme one gets an insight into just how damaging her set of mental health problems were.

it's good to hear her getting a bit of exposure. i always have this feeling that she somehow doesn't get the attention she deserves. she may not be my favourite poet but she's certainly one of those i return to most frequently.

i'd definitely give it a listen. for non iplayer accessible types it's being rebroadcast at 2330 0n the 23rd, uk time


Rachel Fox said...

I'd seen it was on but wasn't in the mood for someone else's misery with so much on the news. Maybe later this week...

Sorlil said...

I think she's the best reader of her own work of any poet I've heard, esp her reading of Her Kind which I really love.

swiss said...

i've been missing the misery on tv mainly because i haven't been watching it and also because anything to do with haiti is so bleakly unintentionally ironic all i end up doing is shouting at the tv.

not that the sexton thing was miserable. and certainly as sorlil points out she's one fo those rarities that can actually read her own poems

Rachel Fox said...

Well, I did listen. 'Mommie Dearest - the poet's cut' or what? And you know I'm only being flippant because it's hometime, right?

I enjoyed some of the poetry - especially all that about being tired of being a woman (cue Shania Twain) but I found listening to the daughters a bit painful, to say the least. Just because someone writes confessionally doesn't mean we have to see every detail of their life, hear every word they ever said. And was no-one else around in the family to help the girls, was all I kept thinking (cycles of abuse and sadness and all that). Guess not - they still sound fairly battered by it all.

I could go on and on. I won't.


swiss said...

i did think of mommie dearest when this was on tho in the context of sexton and her mother rather than in her relation ro her daughters. it being a half hour programme tho they couldn't cover that.

as to someone lookingafter the children they were removed from sexton for the first three or four years of their lives, i think there's a poem int he programme about this, i can;t quite remember. these days we'd call it some sort of post natal dosorder and most likely treat it. not so back then tho. i kept thinking of that julianne moore film far from heaven and the restrictions and social codings imposed on these middle class american housewives.

reading thru sexton's own words on the subject this comes thru again and again. aside from the whole mental health issue which she's in hospital for over and over, before and after the birth of her kids, she keeps returning to all her failings 'as a woman', mother, wife etc, the sort of stuff that never has been and most likely will never be placed on a man in a similar position. it's really quite tragic