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At Writers Theatre: My Own Stranger
Anne Gray Harvey was born in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1928. She attended Garland Junior College for one year and married Alfred "Kayo" Muller Sexton II at age 19. After the birth of her first daughter in 1953, she was diagnosed with postpartum depression, sufered her first mental breakdown, and was admitted to Westwood Lodge, a psychiatric hospital she would repeatedly return to for help.
Her doctor encouraged her to write poems as a form of therapy, and in the fall of 1957 she enrolled in a poetry workshop at the Boston Center for Adult Education. She was awarded the Robert Frost Fellowship to attend Breadloaf Writers' Conference in 1959 and published her first collection of poetry a year later, entitled To Bedlam and Part Way Back (1960). Unlike her contemporary Sylvia Path, Sexton realized her own unhappiness and frustration with life, but strove to work through her own pain to find the light and joy that she felt was eluding her.
In 1962, her second collection, All My Pretty Ones (1962) was nominated for a National Book Award. Her third collection, Live or Die (1966) won the Pulitzer Prize. Her later collections included Love Poems (1969), Transformations (1971), The Book of Folly (1972), and The Death Notebooks (1974). Sexton died in 1974. Her posthumous publications include: The Awful Rowing Toward God (1975), 45 Mercy Street (1976), Anne Sexton: A Self Portrait in Letters (1977), Words for Dr. Y: Uncollected Poems with Three Stories (1978), The Complete Works (1981), and Selected Poems (1988).
[Bio as of March 2004]