Sunday, June 6, 2010

Anne Sexton and Her Kind

When I was a teenager I worked at a plant shop in Chestnut Hill - the other side of the tracks from where I grew up. One of my co-workers had been a maid to Anne Sexton, and since Sexton had recently committed suicide, my friend needed a new job. How I wish I had asked more questions! All I remember now is that her boyfriend had also worked there as the gardener or chauffeur - it's too long ago to be sure. What I do remember is my co-worker's car - a bright red Karmann Ghia  - a convertible. My friend, the only woman I've ever known to have such a car, seemed to me as independent and magical woman as I have known. She was older and more worldly, and today I still associate her directly with Anne Sexton.

I'm including a poem here and a date in history (April 22, 1960) when Sexton published her first book of poems. To Bedhlam and Halfway Back. Anne Sexton's band was called "Anne Sexton and Her Kind." Here is a cool "Mass Moments" about her from I am also trying to add the youtube video which has photographs of Sexton and a recording of her reading Her Kind.

Her Kind

by Anne Sexton

I have gone out, a possessed witch,   
haunting the black air, braver at night;   
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch   
over the plain houses, light by light:   
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.   
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.   
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,   
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,   
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:   
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,   
learning the last bright routes, survivor   
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.   
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.   
I have been her kind.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hopefully this link will work!

  3. Well, it's not a live link, alas... but a great reading (and an amazing poem). Thanks for reminding me.

  4. Did she make any records of her reading with the band?

  5. Yes, there is

  6. This video contains a few recordings of Anne Sexton and Her Kind. It's the only source I've been able to find.