an After abortion

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Wednesday, February 19, 2003

An invaluable reader pointed me in the direction of the poem "Abortion" by Anne Sexton.

Here's an excerpt.

"up in Pennsylvania, I met a little man,
not Rumpelstiltskin, at all, at all...
he took the fullness that love began.

Returning north, even the sky grew thin
like a high window looking nowhere.
The road was as flat as a sheet of tin.

Somebody who should have been born
is gone."

[Italics are in the original.]

Find the full poem here.

Sexton won the Pulitzer Prize for her poetry in 1967. Her style is known as Confessionalism. She once described poetry as "an axe for the frozen sea within us."

I found one web page that said "it is known for a fact that Anne Sexton never had an abortion" and yet another webpage that says "She signed a petition published in the New York Times by a group of prominent women declaring that they had had abortions and demanding the right for all American women." More when I know more.

She committed suicide in the early 70s. She fought suicidal feelings for decades, and was in therapy off and on. One of her therapists seduced her. After her death, another therapist gave the audiotapes of 300 of Sexton's psychotherapy sessions with him to her biographer, an enormously controversial move.

Anne Sexton: "If my life is a wreck, at least let my art help other people."

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