Books December 1991
Connoisseur of madness, addict of suicide
A review of Anne Sexton: A Biography by Diane Middlebrook.
It is strange to contemplate the destinies of America’s three most prominent women poets of the post-Bogan-Bishop generation: Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, and Anne Sexton. Two of them committed suicide; the third, Adrienne Rich, had a husband who did. Rich eventually turned into the most militant of lesbian feminists, refusing even to talk to men, except on business matters.
I met Plath only once. She was with Peter Davison, the editor-poet, her then lover; we were waiting to get into the Brattle Theater, just off Harvard Square. During a brief conversation, Miss Plath impressed me as rather plain under her defiantly blondined hair, but lively enough for a Smith girl, a part she looked to a “T.” Adrienne Cecile Rich, a Radcliffe undergraduate, signed up for a poetry course given by Archibald...
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