This selection, which is drawn from Anne Sexton's ten published volumes of poems as well as from representative early and last work, is an ideal introduction to a great American poet.
Sexton claimed that poetry kept her alive through periods of suicidal self-hatred, and indeed her poetry started as therapy, a means suggested by her psychiatrist of documenting the unspeakable. This volume contains selections, many of them familiar, from her eight books. Despite professional success, she continued to suffer, but her work does more than document the pain that finally led to alcohol addiction and suicide. Labeled confessional, she preferred to be called a storyteller, often adopting a persona: ``Like Oedipus I am losing my sight./Like Judas I have done my wrong.'' Much of the early poetry was workshop-influenced, but Sexton's music as well as her intensity and good ear ultimately come through. Rosaly De Maios Roffman, Univ. of Pennsylvania, Indiana