The death notebooks

by Anne Sexton

Other authorsBarbara Swan (Cover artist)
Paper Book, 1974





Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1974.

User reviews

LibraryThing member CaseyRenee
Madness, darling. And guts.
LibraryThing member dasam
While I have found the Confessional School of poetry to be generally too self-indulgent, Anne Sexton's "The Death Notebooks" dances a fine line between art and autobiography to crate an experience for the reader that reveals and delights. When confessional poetry fails, I think, it is too specific
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to the individual, losing gift of great art at speaking tot he universal human experience. Sexton's work in this volume succeeds here.

Yet waiting to die we are the same thing.

Her struggles with life and faith permeate this collection, remaining unresolved by avoiding pat answers. The old faith seems dried out:

You have to polish up the stars
with Bab-o and find a new God
as the earth empties out
into the gnarled hands of the old redeemer.

But the Christian dream remains alive in its democracy:

We are put there beside the three thieves
for the lowest of us all
deserve to smile in eternity
like a watermelon.

Sexton writes well, passionately, honestly, using her words in her futile struggle against depression that came early abuse and life's daily insults. Her words may still redeem us. That's what she hopes for as she writes:

For I am placing fist over fist on rock and plunging into the altitude of words. The silence of words.

This collection is for all of us who live along the rock edge of death, smiling like watermelons.
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