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More Than Myself

Tyrant of Words
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Poetry Contest

The Classic Corner: Anne Sexton Tribute

Co-Host - JohnnyBlaze ( also the amazing artist who rendered Sexton's portrait )

Part XIX in an ongoing series introducing serious writers of DUP to the most well-known poets in classical and modern literature.

Anne Sexton (November 9, 1928 – October 4, 1974) was an American poet known for her highly personal, confessional verse. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967 for her book Live or Die. Her poetry details her long battle with depression, suicidal tendencies, and intimate details from her private life.  

Her accomplishment and awards include:

1962: All My Pretty Ones published; nominated for National Book Award
          Levinson Prize from Poetry
1963: Traveling fellowship by American Academy of Arts and Letters
          Tour of Europe with neighbor Sands Robart
1965: Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, London. Received the first literary
          magazine travel award from the International Congress of Cultural Freedom.
1967: Awarded Pulitzer Prize for Live or Die
          Shelley Award from the Poetry Society
1969: Guggenheim Fellowship for work on play Mercy Street, produced at American Place
           Theater, New York City
1970:  Honorary doctor of letters, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts
1972:  Promoted to full professor at Boston University
           Crashaw Chair in Literature at Colgate University
           Honorary doctor of letters, Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut
On October 4, 1974, Sexton had lunch with Kumin to revise galleys for Sexton's manuscript of The Awful Rowing Toward God, scheduled for publication in March 1975 (Middlebrook 396). On returning home she put on her mother's old fur coat, removed all her rings, poured herself a glass of vodka, locked herself in her garage, and started the engine of her car, ending her life by carbon monoxide poisoning.

In an interview over a year before her death, she explained she had written the first drafts of The Awful Rowing Toward God in 20 days with "two days out for despair and three days out in a mental hospital." She went on to say that she would not allow the poems to be published before her death.

For more information, visit https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/anne-sexton


Write a new poem honoring  Sexton inspired by any of her poems. Do your best to make us feel as though we are reading poems by Sexton. The more we feel you "capturing her essence" in "your own words" , the higher you will score. This will involve choice of wording, delivery, subject material, formatting, target audience - a wide range of factors.

The Rules

1. One entry per DUP persona.

2. No erotica; this is open to all ages and can't be viewed with an ECW.

3. No exact word limit; however, attempt to keep it no more than 250 - 300.

4. Any form ( including spoken word ) is acceptable ( studying the poet is advised ).  If you are submitting a spoken word, post the actual poem in the body of your post. We do have deaf members, and while they may not be able to listen, they can at least read and garner the essence of your submission.

5. Hashtag your poem #AnneSexton, and link to your poem here. Do NOT copy paste your poem to the competition. The point is to eventually direct visitors searching for Sexton to your poem via the hashtag we hope will eventually be implemented by the Webmiss.

6. In your poem's notes, provide a link to the poem(s) by Sexton  that inspired yours ( please do not forget this step - we have had wonderful entries which were disqualified for not adhering to this simple yet required step ).  

Comp will be judged by a panel including myself. You have one month; best of luck to all entrants.

This competition series will be promoted across our social network sites, and winners will be published on our Website: http://poeticmedics.com/.

Thought Provoker
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( after Anne Sexton )

‘Death’, sounds almost tender
and childlike when I say the name,
rhyming as it does with ‘breath’,

A life force unlike, lesser the end,
when a door is pried open
with a common kitchen utensil.

I didn’t pay attention and failed,
leaving me to salvage
Plath’s words before her last,

When we’d speak of it many times,
as fireflies, like girlfriends,
sending up smoke rings to be the first.

Now I jealously guard the rite
while I still have life and a history,
and can recall all the words.

I’ll silently invoke the spell
in the cryptic speak of suicide
during a vintner’s year.

When the passion returns,
not meant for here, I’ll open the shed
and it will all be in front of me.

Written by Heaven_sent_Kathy
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jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
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In the deep black unfathomable  
where nothing burns of where there is no air,  
in the white ashes unreadable  
as others cannot see yet still they stare,  
in evening’s wicked, winding stir.  

A female muse like that without a care.    
I have been like her.  
I possess, endowed, an evil spree,  
insanity, my bent of village spells  
on every inhabitant and flea;  
my brewing for the vermin with me dwells,  
from cavern home the smell’s allure.  
A female like that is a mystery.  
I have been like her.  
A rutted road where dreams awaken,  
I scan the scenery to memorize  
and see where I am being taken;  
the executioner I recognize:  
I hear the sounds of chain and spur.  
A female like that looks death in the eyes.  
I have been like her.  
Written by Jade-Pandora (jade tiger)
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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[ Classic Corner ] Life Of The Party

Sultry as hell she was            
in that little black dress          
worn so delicately well          
given the sparse nesting          
of robin's egg breasts            
we were both born with          
I really don't know whether          
to be jealous or happy          
that she went to the party          
so much earlier without me          
I can't help being anything but    
What I'd settle for          
is a martini --- the dirtier          
the better and sharing          
a cigarette straight from          
those terrible, morbid        
lips of hers          
while the boys in their suits          
huddle after another lecture          
solving the world's problems          
making the American Dream          
less of a destiny involving          
killing ourselves to manifest         
It was us against the world          
on the losing side, but still ...          
we made a great team          
Or so I thought          
Though our happiness            
never could be bought---        
the jewelry, the houses            
the children and spouses      
---she left behind everything          
precious that should matter          
I'd like to think            
it's the reason I'm still here            
drinking alone

Written by JohnnyBlaze
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Tyrant of Words
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Next month's poll to determine our featured male poet is up. Thank you for your vote.


Tyrant of Words
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More than Myself ( after Anne Sexton )

A certain charm adorns    
a gutter, you see its potential
when it becomes home;
rat breath inhaling your own—    
silence louder than death  
when that last dumpster slams shut.    
Decay is a familiar thing  
to the homeless—    
larger than life curling up    
inside their brick tomb at three AM.    
Hopelessness seems synonymous    
with vagrancy—    
our eyes squint through the dark  
at lumps of coal bodies, solid  
in earthly presence;  
yet, distant in spirit— as stars    
existing somewhere above smog.    
They are more than myself    
these beings    
in their capacity to survive.  
Fallen, impoverished Gods;  
angels among us unawares—    
weighing the balances    
to find us wanting  
in our capacity to love.    
Written by Ahavati
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Fire of Insight
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[ Classic Corner ] Damn You, Plath

I admit to it---    
falling in Love with you 
my Sister in Confessional Poetry    
( despite being married to Mister Sexton;    
indeferent of sexual orientation )    
for you hath stolen my heart    
with your dark art of perusing    
Death's panties for its clit's Mistress---    
be it Dolores, Jane, Sally - any woman    
one could meet on the street    
innumerable in the talley    
I'm tired, I'm beat    
from fighting, no longer reeling      
from overwhelming fits---  
my vulva in a volta, feeling  
Tom-boyed, Dick-ed, and Harri-ed  
by you, dear Sylvia

Written by MaryWalker
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non entry

Dangerous Mind
United Kingdom
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Feel Unattached

I wander through rooms
As if I remember the past
They are but cold empty shells  
Tombs of a life  
I have struggled to live  
Everything is dead inside  
A hollow pulse  
That almost resembles a human  
The heart devoid of feeling  
Just a dark abyss of apathy  
The world trundles on  
As I move in slow motion  
Things piling up around me  
The trash of another person  
Seemingly there to bury me  
I don’t ask my heart to beat  
Or my lungs to fill up with air  
Feel unattached to my body  
It’s a battle of mind over matter  
Whether I matter at all  
# Anne Sexton
Written by AspergerPoet56
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Fire of Insight
United Kingdom
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Related submission no longer exists.

Fire of Insight
United Kingdom
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End stops #Anne Sexton

 How clean the fresh dug grave
Empty footprints stamped from lifes arrears  
The tired franked stamps, torn out to save  
Wheelbarrow's punctured wheel collapsed  
 Weeds that choke untended crops  
 Shining bronze of desolation  
 Type prints shouting with your fixations  
A metronome of incarceration  
Times the hammer on the final nail  
Scattered ashes of dried hormones  
 Jigsaw scrabble that's your subliminal headphones  
 Black carrion crows to peck at your minds eye  
The strewn of all the dreams price tags  
Comes exhaustion, running out of options nag  
 Pipe dreams full of haemoglobins lead  
 The handbrake locked her resting place  
 # Attribution to a fixed point her wishes so disposed  
MY own brother to that place it seems so self engrossed
Written by slipalong
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Tyrant of Words
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Thank you to all who have entered so far.  We've really enjoyed reading the entries.  Please edit your entry themes to include #AnneSexton, as Webmiss has already created this month's hashtag.  Thank you again for your entries and to Webmiss for her hard work.

Dangerous Mind
United States
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Menstruation At Forty (Spider's Curse)

Stung to death,  
an ill begotten fate,  
sisters in tangled limb,  
sisters in wombs' blood  
rendered of yesterdays  
remains still hunted.  

Weaving angels  
hover over the early death  
trapped, entangled,  
consumed in poison,  
wrists bound together  
praying for new life.  

Son, beseeching  
all I have acquired of you,  
You, whom the dusky late hours have made,  
You, whom I lusted for and listened for  
rattling as bells toll,  
clocks revealing our closeness in hour,  
our embrace before  
the splitting apart of our loves' codependency.  
I rock you inside the empty lull,  
my quiet one,  
unrecieved of longing,  
bare of hearts' tethering,  
a last siphoning from which  
sisters in kind fall away.  
weaving a web over your own,  
a thin and tangled poison.  
bad spider—  
Written by PoetsRevenge
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Joshua Bond
Tyrant of Words
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For September's Classic Corner choice of female poet, how about one of the following?

Imtiaz Dharker? (b.1954, Pakistani-born British poet & documentary film-maker) {http://www.imtiazdharker.com/poems}

Carol Ann Duffy? (b.1955, poet laureate from 2009-2019) {https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poet/carol-ann-duffy/}

Kathleen Jamie? (b.1962, Scottish poet) {https://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/poet/kathleen-jamie/}

... as three U.K poets.

(NB: This might be the last chance to use the phrase "U.K poets" before the U.K disintegrates in Brexit on 31st October)


Fire of Insight
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Dangerous Mind
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The Awful Rowing (Toward God)

'Perhaps God is only a deep voice
 heard by the deaf,
 I do not know'
             -Anne Sexton

Where is God, what sun, what moon
towed the misogyny
to leave me here in his blood?
The far off island of blinking starlight
winks and carries me off:
I am floating, I am rowing.

Seeking, I am always seeking;
such tedious labor to play this game.
He is receding as I push on to his
island in the sun
inhaling its fishy, sour sobriety.

My skin is removed of its endurance,
I am raw, blistered in the salt air,
glued to this loathsome work
full of repetition and of wondering how,
why am I not further along than
this distance would allow and
so willingly could provide?

I let go and drift further away,
yet not toward a reckoning vision,
a dock of any real knowing.
Who knows God at all, really?
He bobs to and fro on the horizon
of seasickness, yet
to strive to know is to row and row,
I surmise, on and on,
my heart's futile desires in tow.

Where is the frothy outcome
of this great race and whom is winning,
am not I, I ask God, to no reply?
His smile is a passing cloud I long to be,
or anything but myself who hunts death,
stalks it even, pushing against all odds to it
for the currents would have me onto
the shores of insanity otherwise.
I wish to die perfectly, gulped by the ocean,

Enfolded into the swift waters like a water baby,
fins shimmering in the sun, as unflawed as its life.
I am streamlined for this struggle of returning
though I remember not my origins,
my moments of growth,
what brought me here.
What abandoned my great struggle
for living and life,
I do not know.

That great void that calls to me
and teases my perceptions has no voice;
it is a voiceless agony,
an awful calling to arms.
My arms are at my side as my resistance falls
and it keeps a poker face, so do I for the sake of it.
I cannot know why it swims around me
like an awful, hungry fish waiting for
the inevitable decay of my hope;
nothing dies whole in these waters.

I remember growing, learning, reaching
from a square crib to a square desk to
a square sheet of paper,
filling it up with the unknowns,
the uncertain words of tentativity
that were so brassy, yet so unaware
of what was to come:
The great fall of the stone heart
plunked into an unremembering ocean
undocumented in its descent,
lost to the island of God
and its salvation.

I see him in the distance, that hooligan
and I row on.
I inhale deeply from a cigarette,
and unashamed to die.


(an epic non-entry)
Written by PoetsRevenge
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