Katha Pollitt on: "The Awful Rowing"

Like Sylvia Plath, with whom she is often paired, Anne Sexton arouses strong feelings of popular adulation and critical unease. How could it have been otherwise? At a time when American poetry was nearly as male-dominated as football, she wrote frankly, extravagantly and without apology about the experience of women. Scarcely less important, she was a democrat practicing the most snobbish of arts. While most of her colleagues were scholars and critics and translators with university affiliations, she was a junior-college dropout and suburban matron who began writing poetry after watching a television program called How to Write a Sonnet. With her recurrent bouts of madness, her suicide attempts (she finally succeeded in 1974), her flamboyant sexuality and her vibrant physical presence on the poetry-reading circuit, she fit as no poet since Dylan Thomas the popular stereotype of the self-destructive genius--beautiful, damned and oh-so-sensitive. It was a role she exploited to the hilt.

From "The Awful Rowing" The Nation (1981)


Title Katha Pollitt on: "The Awful Rowing" Type of Content Criticism
Criticism Author Katha Pollitt Criticism Target Anne Sexton
Criticism Type Poet Originally Posted 02 Mar 2016
Publication Status Excerpted Criticism Publication The Awful Rowing
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