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Anne Sexton: Teacher of Weird Abundance (S U N Y Series, by Paula M. Salvio

By Paula M. Salvio

The poet's existence as a instructor.

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CHAPTER ONE Loss, Love, and the Work of Learning Lessons from the Teaching Life of Anne Sexton Depression is boring, I think, and I would do better to make some soup and light up the cave. —Anne Sexton, “The Fury of Rain Storms” The secret must sneak, insert, or introduce itself into the arena of public forms; it must pressure them and prod known subjects into action. . —Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari Long before her death, Anne Sexton meticulously typed her manuscripts and kept carbon copies of her letters.

THE RETURN OF AN INSIGHT Shortly after I had received the news that I was awarded funding from the University of New Hampshire to travel to the archives, one of my colleagues made it quite clear that he thought the university was wasting its money on this project. “My wife wondered,” he told me with a laugh, “why you would want to study someone who was not only crazy, but who slept with her students? ” At that moment, I became acutely conscious of how precarious Sexton’s status as a teacher would be.

In chapter 1, I am in the Anne Sexton archives in Austin, Texas, confronted with a letter written by a student who claims to have fallen in love with Sexton. I find in this letter a series of lessons about learning, love, and mourning that came to have far more implications for my teaching life than I could have imagined. In chapters 2 and 3, I venture to contemplate melancholia at the level of teaching and learning. ” In each 16 ANNE SEXTON instance, psychoanalytic theory is used to make sense of the historical events surrounding her life as a writer, mother, and teacher in post-World War II America.

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