Friday, September 20, 2013

Women in Poetry (Anne Sexton)

Anne Sexton

Initially women were not into or even allowed in poetry. only in the 18th century women started to rise and fight for their rights especially through writings. one of my personal favorite women poet is Anne Sexton. sexton was not born during the 18th century but in 1928 in Newton, Massachusetts. her work is known for her profound confessional and painful/joyous nature. her works are greatly influenced by Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and W. D. Snodgrass. her central topic when creating a masterpiece generally revolves on women's issue and her own experience. one of her best known works is 'All My Pretty Ones' in 1962:-

Father, this year’s jinx rides us apart

where you followed our mother to her cold slumber;

a second shock boiling its stone to your heart,   

leaving me here to shuffle and disencumber   

you from the residence you could not afford:   

a gold key, your half of a woolen mill,

twenty suits from Dunne’s, an English Ford,   

the love and legal verbiage of another will,   

boxes of pictures of people I do not know.

I touch their cardboard faces. They must go.

But the eyes, as thick as wood in this album,   

hold me. I stop here, where a small boy

waits in a ruffled dress for someone to come ...   

for this soldier who holds his bugle like a toy   

or for this velvet lady who cannot smile.   

Is this your father’s father, this commodore

in a mailman suit? My father, time meanwhile   

has made it unimportant who you are looking for.   

I’ll never know what these faces are all about.   

I lock them into their book and throw them out.

This is the yellow scrapbook that you began

the year I was born; as crackling now and wrinkly   

as tobacco leaves: clippings where Hoover outran   

the Democrats, wiggling his dry finger at me

and Prohibition; news where the Hindenburg went   

down and recent years where you went flush   

on war. This year, solvent but sick, you meant   

to marry that pretty widow in a one-month rush.   

But before you had that second chance, I cried   

on your fat shoulder. Three days later you died.

These are the snapshots of marriage, stopped in places.   

Side by side at the rail toward Nassau now;

here, with the winner’s cup at the speedboat races,   

here, in tails at the Cotillion, you take a bow,

here, by our kennel of dogs with their pink eyes,   

running like show-bred pigs in their chain-link pen;   

here, at the horseshow where my sister wins a prize;   

and here, standing like a duke among groups of men.   

Now I fold you down, my drunkard, my navigator,   

my first lost keeper, to love or look at later.

I hold a five-year diary that my mother kept   

for three years, telling all she does not say   

of your alcoholic tendency. You overslept,

she writes. My God, father, each Christmas Day   

with your blood, will I drink down your glass   

of wine? The diary of your hurly-burly years   

goes to my shelf to wait for my age to pass.   

Only in this hoarded span will love persevere.   

Whether you are pretty or not, I outlive you,

bend down my strange face to yours and forgive you.

 The poem is about the persona experience with her father. she was abused due to his/her father's alcohol addiction. some argued that this poem is actually written based on Sexton's life. her father Harvey is a drunkard and known to abuse Anne Sexton. the idea of having a man as a main idea in this poem is still debatable especially in the feminist community. 

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