Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton

1928 - 1974

Known for her intensely emotional confessional poetry, Anne Sexton was a successful writer and poet during her lifetime. In 1967, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Her poems are characterized by their autobiographical aspect, often recounting her constant struggle with depression and mental illness.

Photo: Anne Sexton, 1967, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Digital ID: cph 3c09698


Born in Massachusetts, Sexton suffered from mental illness and severe depression throughout her life. After her second severe breakdown in 1955, Sexton's doctor encouraged her to start writing poetry.

Sexton experienced early success with her poems, with publications in The New Yorker, Harper's Magazine, and Saturday Review shortly after beginning her writing career. Her studies with Robert Lowell (alongside Sylvia Plath and George Starbuck at Boston University) were influential on her poetry.

As time progressed, Sexton continued to meet success with her work, encouraged poet Maxine Kumin, and eventually co-wrote four childrens books with her. She often collaborated with musicians and formed the jazz-rock group Her Kind. However, her depression became increasingly manic, and she took her own life in 1974.

--Christie Finn

Songs & Song Collections BY Sexton (entered to date)
Composers who set Sexton's TEXTS (entered to date)

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