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The Complete Poems: Anne Sexton Paperback – April 28, 1999

4.7 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

She drew her poems from a great depth in herself, and they continue to stir us...Her voice remains a distinctive one in American poetry of the past half century. -- J.D. McClatchy --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


45 Mercy Street
The Abortion
The Addict
Admonitions To A Special Person
After Auschwitz
Again And Again And Again
All My Pretty Ones
The Ambition Bird
And One For My Dame
The Angel Food Dogs
Angels Of The Love Affair: 1. Angel Of Clean Sheets
Angels Of The Love Affair: 1. Angel Of Fire And Genitals
Angels Of The Love Affair: 3. Angel Of Flight And Sleigh Bel
Angels Of The Love Affair: 4. Angel Of Hope And Calendars
Angels Of The Love Affair: 5. Angel Of Blizzards And Blackb
Angels Of The Love Affair: 6. Angel Of Beach Houses And Picn
Anna Who Was Mad
The Assassin
August 17th
August 8th
The Author Of The Jesus Papers Speaks
Baby Picture
The Ballad Of The Lonely Masturbator
The Bells
The Big Boots Of Pain
The Big Heart
The Black Art
The Break
The Break Away
The Breast
Briar Rose (sleeping Beauty)
Buying The Whore
Buying The Whore
The Child Bearers
The Child Bearers
The Children
Christmas Eve
Cigarettes And Whiskey And Wild, Wild Women
The Civil War
The Consecrating Mother
Consorting With Angels
Cripples And Other Stories
Crossing The Atlantic
A Curse Against Elegies
Daddy Warbucks
The Dead Heart
The Death Baby
The Death King
The Death King
The Death Of The Fathers: 1. Oysters
The Death Of The Fathers: 2. How We Danced
The Death Of The Fathers: 3. The Boat
The Death Of The Fathers: 4. Santa
The Death Of The Fathers: 5. Friends
The Death Of The Fathers: 6. Begat
The Division Of Parts
Divorce, They Name Is Woman
The Doctor Of The Heart
Doors, Doors, Doors: 1. Old Man
Doors, Doors, Doors: 2. Seamstress
Doors, Doors, Doors: 3. Young Girl
The Double Image
Dreaming The Breasts
The Earth
The Earth Falls Down
Eighteen Days Without You, Sels.
Elegy In The Classroom
Elizabeth Gone
End, Middle, Beginning
The Errand
The Errand
The Evil Eye
The Evil Seekers
The Expatriates
The Fallen Angels
The Falling Dolls
The Farmer's Wife
Faustus And I
February 11th
February 17th
February 20th
February 21st
February 3rd
February 4th
The Fierceness Of Female
The Fire Thief
The Firebombers
The Fish That Walked
Flee On Your Donkey
For Eleanor Boylan Talking With God
For God While Sleeping
For John, Who Begs Me Not To Enquire Further
For Johnny Pole On The Forgotten Beach
For Mr. Death Who Stands With His Door Open
For My Lover, Returning To His Wife
For The Year Of The Insane
The Fortress
The Frog Prince
God's Backside
The God-monger
Godfather Death
Going Gone
The Gold Key
Grandfather, Your Wound
Hansel And Gretel
Her Kind
The Hex
The Hoarder
The House
Hurry Up Please It's Time
I Remember
Imitations Of Drowning
In Celebration Of My Uterus
In Excelsis
In The Beach House
The Interrogation Of The Man Of Many Hearts
The Inventory Of Goodbye
Iron Hans
Is It True?
It Is A Spring Afternoon
January 19th
January 1st
January 1st
January 24th
Jesus Asleep
Jesus Awake
Jesus Cooks
Jesus Dies
Jesus Raises Up The Harlot
Jesus Suckles
Jesus Summons Forth
Jesus Unborn
Jesus Walking
Jesus, The Actor, Plays The Holy Ghost
June Bug
Just Once
Ke 6-8018
Keeping The City
Killing The Love
Killing The Spring
Kind Sir: These Woods
The Kiss
The Kite
Knee Song
Landscape In Winter
Leaves That Talk
The Legend Of The One-eyed Man
Lessons In Hunger
Letter Written During A January Northeaster
Letter Written On A Ferry While Crossing Long Island Sound
Letters To Dr. Y.
Little Girl, My String Bean, My Lovely Woman
The Little Peasant
Little Red Riding Hood
A Little Uncomplicated Hymn
Locked Doors
The Lost Ingredient
The Lost Lie
Love Letter Written In A Burning Building
The Love Plant
Love Song
Love Song For K. Owyne
Loving The Killer
Madame Arrives In The Mail
The Maiden Without Hands
Making A Living
Man And Wife
March 4th
March 4th
March 7th
Mary's Song
May 30th
Menstruation At Forty
The Money Swing
The Moss Of His Skin
Mother And Daughter
Mother And Jack And The Rain
Mr. Mine
Noon Walk On The Asylum Lawn
Not So. Not So
The Nude Swim
O Ye Tongues
Old Dwarf Heart
One-eye, Two-eyes, Three-eyes
The One-legged Man
The Operation
The Other
Pain For A Daughter
The Papa And Mama Dance
The Passion Of The Mad Rabbit
The Play
The Poet Of Ignorance
Portrait Of An Old Woman On The College Tavern Wall
Praying On A 707
Praying To Big Jack
Protestant Easter
Rats Live On No Evil Star
The Red Dance
Red Roses
The Red Shoes
Riding The Elevator Into The Sky
Ringing The Bells
The Risk
The Risk
The Road Back
The Room Of My Life
The Rowing Endeth
Said The Poet To The Analyst
The Saints Come Marching In
The Sea Corpse
Self In 1958
The Sermon Of The Twelve Acknowledgments
The Shout
The Sickness Unto Death
The Silence
Small Wire
Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs
Some Foreign Letters
Somewhere In Africa
Song For A Lady
Song For A Red Nightgown
Speaking Bitterness
Speaking Bitterness
The Stand-ins
Star-nosed Mole
The Starry Night
A Story For Rose On The Midnight Flight To Boston
Suicide Note
The Sun
The Surgeon
The Surgeon
Sylvia's Death
The Taker
Talking To Sheep
That Day
There You Were
Those Times
Three Green Windows
To A Friend Whose Work Has Come To Triumph
To Like, To Love
To Like, To Love
To Lose The Earth
Torn Down From Glory Daily
The Touch
The Truth The Dead Know
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
The Twelve-thousand-day Honeymoon
The Twelve-thousand-day Honeymoon
Two Hands
Two Sons
Unknown Girl In The Maternity Ward
Venus And The Ark
The Waiting Head
Waking Alone
Walking In Paris
The Wall
Wanting To Die
The Wedding Night
The Wedding Ring Dance
The Wedlock
Welcome Morning
What The Bird With The Human Head Knew
What's That
When Man Enters Woman
When The Glass Of My Body Broke
Where I Live In This Honorable House Of The Laurel Tree
Where It Was At Back Then
The White Snake
The Wifebeater
The Witch's Life
With Mercy For The Greedy
Woman With Girdle
The Wonderful Musician
You All Know The Story Of The Other Woman
You, Doctor Martin
Your Face On The Dog's Neck
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder® --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; First Edition edition (April 28, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395957761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395957769
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You can like, or dislike, Anne Sexton. I won't describe her work (other reviewers have, and if you're here you're at least familiar), but say that if you've loved any poetry by Sexton, I highly recommend this book.
It's organized, chronologically, by her books (and hence her life): each poem from each book is within this one, plus some previously unpublished poems. Each of her books--in this case, chapters--is thematically consistent: fairy tales (Sexton-style "homages"), "love poems," time in the institution, etc.
You may not love every book/chapter, but the volume is a must-own. I don't see a need to buy "Love Poems," for example, or all or some of the rest of her books, when they're all in here - and each one not priced all that differently from this entirety. (It's also not oppressively long and hard to hold like some "complete" collections.)
Within this book, if you don't connect to one, two, or any of her other books, you've got them at hand and while enjoying the material you do--be it institution or masturbation--you'll be familiar with the rest.
Anne Sexton is my favorite poet, I admit, but when I reread a poem I far more often pick up this volume than the individual books.
As well, the chronological organization of "Complete Poems" tells a story itself - Sexton's life through her confessional poetry. It becomes a memoir, of sorts. While reading, you can easily see the year of each book's/chapter's publication. And in this way, the volume becomes a story and a biography.
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Format: Paperback
What first drew me to the poet Anne Sexton was a fragment I read from an essay in which she discussed the death of fellow American poet Sylvia Plath. What struck me was not just the disarming honesty of Sexton's remorse, but also the glimmer of a slightly less generous sentiment that belied her sadness. The precise nature of this sentiment became evident to me once I read Sexton's poem "Sylvia's Death," which revealed that Sexton's grief stemmed more from a profound sense of being left behind than from a sense of losing someone dear. In the poem, which is heartrending in its sincerity, Sexton mournfully addresses Plath: "Thief -- / how did you crawl into, / crawl down alone / into the death I wanted so badly and for so long, / the death we said we both outgrew, / the one we wore on our skinny breasts." What this passage and the entirety of her poem "Wanting to Die" reveal is just how clearly Sexton was aware of this death wish, this "suicide," as not only a disease of the mind, but a hunger -- an inexplicable and ever-present craving for permanent closure to consciousness. The overwhelming tone of "Sylvia's Death" is one of a woman who feels cheated out of something rightfully hers. Indeed, for Sexton, suicide was an inevitability -- she lived out her existence always with the awareness that she would end it by her own hand -- and many of the poems that made her name were a reflection of this very way of being. For those who deal with clinical depression as a way of life, the truth of the pain that rings from Sexton's verse is almost refreshing, and, in a sad sort of way, therapeutic.
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By A Customer on April 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
I decided to write a review after reading the comments of another reviewer here, who stated in essence that Sexton really is For Women Only. On the contrary! Sexton, Plath (and just who is the better poet? Rosemary and I could argue that one for aeons and Still Not Decide), Whitman, Dickinson and Frank O'Hara are constants with me, each for different reasons. Certainly, Sexton's subject matter resonated deeply with me: depression, madness, memory, spirtuality, the body, sex, children. And each time I read her, I deepen in an appreciation for her true gift of stepping beyond the niceties, however unpleasant they may be. But now after reading and rereading her for more than twenty years, I am most amazed by her intertwining of deep, complicated emotion with incredibly rich and suggestive images and craft that is awe-inspiring. Just rip into one of these poems, particularly the early ones, and see just how tightly controlled they are, how perfect the rhyme schemes and rhythms, how just plain *right* and exact her images can be. Then read the "Transformations" poems--based on her beloved Grimms' Fairy Tales--for a deliciously black and wicked sense of humor. Or delve into the later poems for their bluntness ("Gods" is one of my favorites, but 45 Mercy Street and The Awful Rowing are just marvelous and bitter/sweet) and verve. Sexton just inspires me to try to write something that is just a fraction as rich and wonderful as "Some Foreign Letters" or "All My Pretty Ones." For Women Only? I DON'T *THINK* SO.
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Format: Paperback
To read the poetry of Anne Sexton is to drown in the moment between sleeping and waking. Although Sexton's poems range in tone from gritty to incandescent, her content is consistently sharp, insightful, and stinging. She's one of those rare talents who manages to write with a purpose AND a passion. The first time I read her work, the thought that sprang to mind was: "Wow. She's writing what everyone else is only thinking." Sexton has a great capacity to verbalize the unspeakable, and she does it in such a way that it scars you and heals you simultaneously. Take, for example, her "Transformations" series (the re-written fairy tales.) Here we have incest, beauty, fear, love, repression, magic...all tangled between translucent words with spines of steel. To say I am in awe of this book is to only scratch the surface.
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