The Medieval and the Modern II

Unit 4, Part II
Selected Poems by Anne Sexton
 Review
MLA format for citing anthologies and
for cross-referencing in a works cited page
 Review the term “Confessional Poetry” from
 Anne Sexton, The Complete Poems
“In Celebration of My Uterus”
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”
“Red Riding Hood”
“Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty)”
Web Authoring Projects
Online revision of your 8-10 page papers
Grade based on:
Quality of the student’s revision
Overall creativity of design
Oral presentation of projects in class, March 11th and 13th
Julia Panko, the Transcriptions Studio RA, will be
available to help you with your web authoring
projects. Her drop-in hours for the winter quarter
 Tuesday, 11:00-5:00
 Wednesday, 9:30-12:00
 Thursday, 2:00-5:00
 Friday, 10:00-12:30
Name of editor or compiler, followed by a comma
and the abbreviation ed. or comp.
 If they performed more than one function, give
both roles in the order that they appear on the
title page
 For example:
 Lopate, Phillip, ed. The Art of the Personal
Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era
to the Present. New York: Anchor- Doubleday,
 Spafford, Peter, comp. and ed. Interference: The
Story of Czechoslovakia in the Words of Its
Writers. Cheltenham: New Clarion, 1992.
 Helps
avoid repetition in list of works cited
 Used when citing two or more works from
the same collection, such as three articles
from the same anthology
 Create a complete entry for the entire
collection and then cross-reference
individual pieces to the entry
 For the cross-reference, state the author and
the title of the piece, the last name of the
editor of collection, and the inclusive page
For example:
Hamill, Pete. Introduction. Sexton and Powers xixiv.
Mayakovsky, Vladimir. “Brooklyn Bridge.” Trans.
Max Hayward and George Reavey. Sexton
and Powers 136-41.
McCullers, Carson. “Brooklyn Is My Neighborhood.”
Sexton and Powers 143-47.
Sexton, Andrea Wyatt, and Alice Leccese Powers,
eds. The Brooklyn Reader: Thirty Writers
Celebrate America’s Favorite Borough. New
York: Harmony, 1994.
type of narrative and lyric verse
Written by American poets such as Allen
Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton
 Characterized
by “facts and intimate
mental and physical experiences of the
poet’s own life.”
 Written “in rebellion against the demand
for impersonality by T.S. Eliot and the
New Critics.”
 Secular focus rather than religious
Confessional poetry vs. poems of the Romantic Period
 Romantic Period characterized by the “poet’s own
circumstances, experiences, and feelings” (Think
Wordsworth’s “Tintern Abbey”)
 Confessional poetry, on the other hand, is characterized
by candor and the “sometimes shocking detail with
which the poet reveals private or clinical matters about
himself or herself.”
 Sexual Experiences
 Mental Anguish or Illness
 Experiments with Drugs
 Suicidal Impulses
 We’ve
looked at the way that “love is a
battlefield” in the medieval period and
 We’ve looked at the way that new media
influences our access and perception of
medieval literature and the texts of
successive periods of English literature
 We’ve also seen the way in which gender,
both masculine and feminine, has been
portrayed in texts by medieval female
authors, such as Christine de Pizan and Marie
de France
 Born
November 9, 1928, in Newton,
 Married Alfred Muller Sexton 11 ("Kayo") in
 Battled depression through much of her life
and attempted suicide several times
 Took up writing on the advice of a therapist
 In 1957 she joined several writing groups in
Boston and came to know other writers such
as Maxine Kumin, Robert Lowell, George
Starbuck, and Sylvia Plath
 Her
developing fame as a writer led to
further turmoil in her relationship with her
 1967 she received the Pulitzer Prize for
poetry for Live or Die (1966)
 After her divorce from her husband, she
continued to battle depression and
 Died October 4, 1974, in Newton,
 Though
Sexton’s poetry is often considered
“confessional poetry,” Linda Wagner-Martin
notes that:
“Much of what Sexton wrote was in no way
autobiographical, despite the sense of reality it had,
and thus criticisms of her writing as "confessional" are
misleading. She used her knowledge of the human
condition--often painful, but sometimes joyous--to
create poems readers could share.”
 To
Bedlam and Part Way Back, 1960
 All My Pretty Ones, 1962
 Live or Die, 1966
 Transformations, 1971
 The Book of Folly, 1972
 The Death Notebooks, 1974
 The Awful Rowing Toward God, 1975
 The Complete Poems, 1981
 Metaphors
 Unexpected
 Unconventional Imagery
 Repetition of Themes
 Issues of Gender
As Lois Ames writes:
Anne wrote about the complications of being female at a time
when the rule was that "nice girls don't talk about sex," and the
women of Massachusetts were still begging their doctors for
sound advice on safe birth control. Yet, she switched a flashlight
into dark corners and rattled the bones in every family's closet,
to write about abortion, menstruation, masturbation,
heterosexual and lesbian love affairs, adultery, incest, child
abuse, and addiction, in spite of taboos. Today, as these topics
are matter-of-factly discussed in the school, the media, the
market, and the church, one must stop to remember that Anne's
courage and fortitude and poetic sensibility were at the
beginning of the tidal wave.
 Welcome
to the dark side. . .
Before Disney, many of the fairytales that we
have come to know and love were originally
much darker in subject matter and tone
Many of them had existed orally as far back as
the medieval period and beyond, before being
compiled by people like Charles Perrault (16281703) and the Brothers Grimm: Jakob Ludwig
Grimm (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Karl Grimm
According to Linda Wagner-Martin , Transformations
is “[c]learly her most feminist work” in that Sexton’s
voice “was now less confessional and more critical of
cultural practices, more inclined to look outside the
poet's persona for material.”
The title of this book speaks not only of the
transformations of the characters within the poems,
but also personal transformations as well
 Love to loss
 Life to death
 Sanity to madness
 Marie
de France?
 Christine de Pizan?
 Keats?
 The Gawain-Poet?
 Donne?
 Gardner?
 Be
sure to read poems and articles on E-RES
 Moodle assignment, extended due date:
Thursday, February 28th
Begin web authoring projects
Post one of the following:
a few words or a title
an image
a link
a sound
or any other element of your choosing.
This assignment is to help you get familiar with
the process of accessing your websites and with
the Transcriptions Studio (SH2509) in general.