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Anne Sexton: Teacher of Weird Abundance (Suny Series, Feminist Theory in Education) Paperback – April 5, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0791470985 ISBN-10: 0791470989

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Product Details

  • Series: Suny Series, Feminist Theory in Education
  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: State University of New York Press (April 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791470989
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791470985
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,619,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

A Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who confessed the unrelenting anguish of addiction and depression, Anne Sexton (1928-1974) was also a dedicated teacher. In this book, Paula M. Salvio opens up Sexton's classroom, uncovering a teacher who willfully demonstrated that the personal could also be plural. Looking at how Sexton framed and used the personal in teaching and learning, Salvio considers the extent to which our histories--both personal and social--exert their influence on teaching. In doing so, she situates the teaching life of Anne Sexton at the center of some of the key problems and questions in feminist teaching: navigating the appropriate distance between teacher and student, the relationship between writer and poetic subject, and the relationship between emotional life and knowledge. Examining Sexton's pedagogy, with its "weird abundance" of tactics and strategies, Salvio argues that Sexton's use of the autobiographical "I" is as much a literary identity as a literal identity, one that can speak with great force to educators who recognize its vital role in the humanities classroom.

"Our best teachers are dissonant and enigmatic figures; they haunt and inspire us with their strangeness and provoke in us anxious excitement and wild thoughts. Paula Salvio's engrossing meditation on the melancholic life and work of Anne Sexton stays close to this discomforting insistence. With sensitivity, insight, courage, and a writer's flair, Salvio presents a compelling study of Sexton's life that will provoke readers to be grateful for the power of creative, honest, and searching scholarship." -- Deborah P. Britzman, author of Novel Education: Psychoanalytic Studies of Learning and Not Learning

"Who is the poet who teaches? When that poet is Sexton, Paula Salvio argues, the issue of teaching persona is never far from the center of the room. The fact that Sexton has never been studied through this lens is the first reason to read this book; the second is that Salvio teaches her readers more about Sexton, poetry, and teaching than any course I know." -- Dawn Skorczewski, author of Teaching One Moment at a Time: Disruption and Repair in the Classroom --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Paula M. Salvio is Associate Professor of Education at the University of New Hampshire and the coeditor (with Gail M. Boldt) of Love's Return: Psychoanalytic Essays on Childhood, Teaching, and Learning. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Apuleius on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
One can say that writers and poets are, generally speaking, teachers of life and literature, and it is from that perspective which Salvio writes her book about Anne Sexton. But Salvio also focuses on the actual poetry workshops that Sexton gave at Boston University and Radcliffe College. While the book is in no way intended to be a biography, there is still much to learn about Sexton's life, be it as teacher, student, mother and, most of all, a free spirit struggling with mental illness. This is a well researched and succinctly written work. Anyone who loves Anne Sexton the poet or the person will appreciate this portrait of a teacher.

It is only in Salvio's description of Anne's relationship with her daughter Linda, that is, the impact she had on her daughter's life, where I think her argument is the weakest. It is weak, I believe, because Salvio relies solely on Linda's book "Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back to My Mother, Anne Sexton" (published in 1994). There was never an interview between Linda and Salvio, and there was no reference to Linda's foreward to the book she co-edited ("Anne Sexton, A Self-Portrait in Letters").

Salvio is correct in stating that Anne Sexton "made sexual use of her daughter's body," but it is a stretch to go from that to the general statement of a therapist or researcher who believes "The parent kills him- or herself as a parent through the act of incest..." Despite the trauma she suffered as a child, Linda the adult has forgiven her mother and can still experience the joy in special moments she had throughout the unfortunately short life of her mother. At least this is the impression I have from having read Linda's latest work, "Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide," published in January, 2011.
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