Iain Cameron's Diary
"Click here to access the Fruitful Album" - Click here to visit Music for the Highveld Project
2013-04-26 - 6:22 p.m.
Causeway is new on the upper Widget.
The last two days have been much quieter. Yesterday I did some proper work and fixed the topic for the next article on the survey results I went to hear about on Wednesday.
Today the biography of Anne Sexton arrived. I wanted to find out about Anne Sexton and Her Kind. I didnt find out anything on the 1968 musical project. But I did discover that earlier in the decade she had published a poem with that title. The poem covers how she feels that she doesnt fit into the standard middle class roles of her time. That all sounds pretty reasonable these days. Her life in fact had a fair few unreasonable facets.
She started the band Anne Sexton and her Kind partly because she realised that the Doors were working with poetic language. I have only ever heard one mp3 of AS+HK which is obviously an early feeling their way kind of thing - possibly influenced by Astral Weeks.
There is a fascinating passage which tells how AS was in Robert Lowell's poetry class - along with S Plath who at that time was feeling rather underemployed while her husband taught at a college. SP and AS became friends and would get wasted together in a hotel bar, talking about their suicide attempts, therapies etc. When SP eventually killed herself in 1963 AS was fascinated by the episode. She died by her own hand in 1974.
Another woman in the class was Adrienne Rich who was also feeling the constraints of a conventional marriage. She became a radical lesbian in the 1970s and went on to become a celebrated poet - in fact she only died in 2012.
The term 'confessional' is sometimes used to tie these poets and others together. The poet who started confessional writing was Snodgrass who AS took as a mentor. John Berryman is another CP who I have read. Some critics also pull in Ginsberg.
In the CP stakes it seems that Plath is often used to downgrade AS. I'm not in a position to make that call. The bio claims that 'Daddy' took some facets from an earlier AS poem. AS seems more modern because she lived longer and she was more into chemical extremes. I need to refresh my assessment of SP with Jacqueline Rose's Haunting book.It may be inevitable that SP will come out as the best fem poet of the era.
All of this may eventually find its way into the ND ch.