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Transformations

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The fairy tale-based works of the tortured confessional poet, whose raw honesty and wit in the face of psychological pain have touched thousands of readers.

112 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1971

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About the author

Anne Sexton

139 books2,100 followers
Anne Sexton once told a journalist that her fans thought she got better, but actually, she just became a poet. These words are characteristic of a talented poet that received therapy for years, but committed suicide in spite of this. The poetry fed her art, but it also imprisoned her in a way.

Her parents didn’t expect much of her academically, and after completing her schooling at Rogers Hall, she went to a finishing school in Boston. Anne met her husband, Kayo (Alfred Muller Sexton II), in 1948 by correspondence. Her mother advised her to elope after she thought she might be pregnant. Anne and Kayo got married in 1948 in North Carolina. After the honeymoon Kayo started working at his father-in-law’s wool business.

In 1953 Anne gave birth to her first-born, Linda Gray. Two years later Linda’s sister, Joyce Ladd, was born. But Anne couldn’t cope with the pressure of two small children over and above Kayo’s frequent absence (due to work). Shortly after Joy was born, Anne was admitted to Westwood Lodge where she was treated by the psychiatrist Dr. Martha Brunner-Orne (and six months later, her son, Dr. Martin Orne, took over). The original diagnosis was for post-natal depression, but the psychologists later decided that Anne suffered from depression of biological nature.

While she was receiving psychiatric treatment, Anne started writing poetry. It all started after another suicide attempt, when Orne came to her and told her that she still has a purpose in life. At that stage she was convinced that she could only become a prostitute. Orne showed her another talent that she had, and her first poetry appeared in print in the January of 1957. She wrote a huge amount of poetry that was published in a dozen poetry books. In 1967 she became the proud recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Live or Die (1966).

In March 1972 Anne and Kayo got divorced. After this a desperate kind of loneliness took over her life. Her addiction to pills and alcohol worsened. Without Kayo the house was very quiet, the children were at college and most of Anne’s friends were avoiding her because they could no longer sympathize with her growing problems. Her poetry started playing such a major role in her life that conflicts were written out, rather than being faced. Anne didn’t mention a word to Kayo about her intention to get divorced. He knew that she desperately needed him, but her poems, and her real feelings toward him, put it differently. Kayo talks about it in an interview as follows: “... I honestly don’t know, never have known, what her real, driving motive was in the divorce. Which is another reason why it absolutely drove me into the floor like a nail when she did it.”

On 4 October 1974 she put on her mother’s old fur coat before, glass of vodka in hand, she climbed into her car, turned the key and died of monodioxide inhalation. She once told Orne that “I feel like my mother whenever I put it [the fur coat] on”. Her oldest daughter, Linda, was appointed as literary executor and we have her to thank for the three poetry books that appeared posthumously.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 365 reviews
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews677 followers
July 25, 2019
A retelling of Grimm Fairy tales combined with some confessional verses. I feel like personally poetry is very hit and miss for me and I just didn't enjoy this that much. I also never really enjoyed Silvia Plath's poetry to be fair and Anne Sexton is similar in a sense. I also felt pretty uncomfortable reading Rapunzel with it's undertones of sexuality between an older woman and a younger woman because there are allegations of sexual abuse against Sexton from her own daughter and the whole time I was like please god let that not be what she's alluding to. Anyways the poems are okay, nothing that really moved me but it was cool to see things like the more blatant allusions made to sexual desire for red riding hood which I had heard of in other contexts as one interpretation of the subtext of the original story.
Profile Image for Kinga.
475 reviews2,119 followers
April 8, 2012
Poetry is like wine to me. I enjoy it occasionally but I don’t have enough knowledge or experience to write elaborate tasting notes.

Like wine, I enjoy poetry on a more intangible level, the only difference is that of course, I am not more likely to go to bed with you if we end up reading poetry for the whole evening.
Therefore, I won’t write a proper review of Anne Sexton’s Transformations. But even Kurt Vonnegut Jr didn’t write anything sensible in his foreword to this edition.
‘Transformations’ are poetic retellings of Grimm’s tales. This world is more than familiar to me. I used to live in their tales when I was a child. I read them over and over again and this was a nice way to revisit the world of my childhood.

In Anne Sexton’s versions of the famous fairy tales they all live creepily ever after. She doesn’t change a thing, she just changes the lightning which makes everything a little bit more grotesque, and we realize that regardless to what our parents had us believe it wasn’t always good that won. Sometimes the good lost.

“Red Riding Hood” opens with Sexton’s musings on deceivers and pretenders. Like a wolf dressed as a grandmother we all sometimes put our more benign face on when facing the world:

"And I. I too.
Quite collected at cocktail parties,
meanwhile in my head
I’m undergoing open-heart surgery.
The heart, poor fellow,
pounding on his little tin drum
with a faint death beat.
The heart, that eyeless bettle,
enormous that Kafka beetle,
running panicked through his maze,
never stopping one foot after the other
one hour after the other
until he gags on an apple
and it’s all over."
Profile Image for Jr Bacdayan.
211 reviews1,635 followers
February 26, 2017
A collection of the mundane deconstructed to resemble the Grimm more than the silly and retold in verses oddly anachronistic yet alluring. What Sexton transforms is more magical than the droll tales of our childhood.
Profile Image for Teresa.
Author 8 books752 followers
January 3, 2017
Sexton takes specific fairy tales, starts each with a modern-day prologue and then tells the tale in her own fashion while being faithful to the plot of the original. Some of the humorous allusions she uses are now dated, such as describing Rumpelstiltskin's body as not being Sanforized; but as a whole, each poem extends the universal truth of the Grimm tale, as with Cinderella's prince's "marriage [meat] market."

I've probably read a Sexton poem here or there, but this was my first extended reading of her; and from the first, I saw her influence on her student Julie Kane, a poet I love. (Kane was a student in Sexton's graduate poetry seminar at the time of her teacher's suicide.) Both share a wry, sarcastic sense of humor and stare unflinchingly into the darkness.

Before (or, in some cases, after) reading some of the poems, I reread the corresponding Grimm tale. Whenever I come across complex retellings of fairy tales such as these, I understand more why I was so drawn to them when I was younger. Back then I gulped them one after the other, hardly stopping to swallow, much less digest. I fear I may have done that with these poems to a certain extent. Though I've reread parts of each and some of all, I know there is much in the poems that I've missed. The lack of the fifth star is due to my failure as reader, giving me impetus to delve even deeper next time.
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.1k followers
August 28, 2019

I have never been quite what to make of this book. Reimaginings of the classic fairy tales by one of the brightest intellects and darkest souls of American poetry would seem like an almost guaranteed classic, a marriage of genius and subject matter made in heaven … hell … or both. But the poems themselves have never quite convinced me. The metaphors, though occasionally illuminating and shocking, are often slapdash and cutesy; the verse line is slack, lacking the grace and force that should shape the narrative. This is far from the formalist classics of To Bedlam and Partway Back (1960) and All My Pretty Ones (1962), or from the looser, daring confessional experiments of Live or Die (1966).

Still, the dark narratives of Transformations (1972) continue to speak to me. Sexton’s voice, though necessarily less confessional here, is still God-ridden and Holocaust-haunted, and—for perhaps the first time—consciously feminist. The old tales retold gain new resonance here, if not quite a new shape—as they do, for example, in Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber--and to hear them articulated by a great poet, a woman who perpetually awakened beauty from its spell, who continually released her captive soul from its dark tower (always—alas!—temporarily), is an illuminating and unsettling experience. I shall return to these poems again.

These narratives are a little too long—and frankly, a little too uneven—for me to include a complete tale for a sample. Instead, I’ll pick three excerpts:

SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS

The dwarfs, those little hot dogs,
walked three times around Snow White,
the sleeping virgin. They were wise
and wattled like small czars.
Yes, it’s a good omen,
they said, and will bring us luck.
They stood on tiptoes to watch
Snow White wake up. She told them
about the mirror and the killer-queen
and they asked her to stay and keep house.

RUMPLESTILTSKIN

Inside many of us
Is a small old man
who wants to get out.
No bigger than a two-year-old
whom you’d call lamp chop
yet this one is old and malformed.
His head is okay
but the rest of him wasn’t Sanforized.
He is a monster of despair.
He is all decay.
He speaks up as tiny as an earphone
with Truman’s asexual voice:
I am your dwarf.
I am the enemy within.
I am the boss of your dreams.
No. I am not the law in your mind,
the grandfather of watchfulness.
I am the law of your members,
the kindred of blackness and impulse.
See. Your hand shakes.
It is not palsy or booze.
It is your Doppelganger
trying to get out.
Beware … beware

CINDERELLA

At the wedding ceremony
the two sisters came to curry favo
and the white dove pecked their eyes out.
Two hollow spots were left
like soup spoons.

Cinderella and the prince
lived, they say, happily ever after,
like two dolls in a museum case
never bothered by diapers or dust,
never arguing over the timing of an egg,
never telling the same story twice,
never getting a middle-aged spread,
their darling smiles pasted on for eternity.
Regular Bobbsey Twins.
That story.
Profile Image for Natalie.
478 reviews111 followers
December 11, 2008
An essential part of my early-life feminist awakening. Observe Cinderella as viewed by Anne Sexton:

You always read about it:
the plumber with the twelve children
who wins the Irish Sweepstakes.
From toilets to riches.
That story.


Or the nursemaid,
some luscious sweet from Denmark
who captures the oldest son's heart.
from diapers to Dior.
That story.


Or a milkman who serves the wealthy,
eggs, cream, butter, yogurt, milk,
the white truck like an ambulance
who goes into real estate
and makes a pile.
From homogenized to martinis at lunch.


Or the charwoman
who is on the bus when it cracks up
and collects enough from the insurance.
From mops to Bonwit Teller.
That story.


Once
the wife of a rich man was on her deathbed
and she said to her daughter Cinderella:
Be devout. Be good. Then I will smile
down from heaven in the seam of a cloud.
The man took another wife who had
two daughters, pretty enough
but with hearts like blackjacks.
Cinderella was their maid.
She slept on the sooty hearth each night
and walked around looking like Al Jolson.
Her father brought presents home from town,
jewels and gowns for the other women
but the twig of a tree for Cinderella.
She planted that twig on her mother's grave
and it grew to a tree where a white dove sat.
Whenever she wished for anything the dove
would drop it like an egg upon the ground.
The bird is important, my dears, so heed him.


Next came the ball, as you all know.
It was a marriage market.
The prince was looking for a wife.
All but Cinderella were preparing
and gussying up for the event.
Cinderella begged to go too.
Her stepmother threw a dish of lentils
into the cinders and said: Pick them
up in an hour and you shall go.
The white dove brought all his friends;
all the warm wings of the fatherland came,
and picked up the lentils in a jiffy.
No, Cinderella, said the stepmother,
you have no clothes and cannot dance.
That's the way with stepmothers.


Cinderella went to the tree at the grave
and cried forth like a gospel singer:
Mama! Mama! My turtledove,
send me to the prince's ball!
The bird dropped down a golden dress
and delicate little slippers.
Rather a large package for a simple bird.
So she went. Which is no surprise.
Her stepmother and sisters didn't
recognize her without her cinder face
and the prince took her hand on the spot
and danced with no other the whole day.

As nightfall came she thought she'd better
get home. The prince walked her home
and she disappeared into the pigeon house
and although the prince took an axe and broke
it open she was gone. Back to her cinders.
These events repeated themselves for three days.
However on the third day the prince
covered the palace steps with cobbler's wax
and Cinderella's gold shoe stuck upon it.
Now he would find whom the shoe fit
and find his strange dancing girl for keeps.
He went to their house and the two sisters
were delighted because they had lovely feet.
The eldest went into a room to try the slipper on
but her big toe got in the way so she simply
sliced it off and put on the slipper.
The prince rode away with her until the white dove
told him to look at the blood pouring forth.
That is the way with amputations.
They just don't heal up like a wish.
The other sister cut off her heel
but the blood told as blood will.
The prince was getting tired.
He began to feel like a shoe salesman.
But he gave it one last try.
This time Cinderella fit into the shoe
like a love letter into its envelope.

At the wedding ceremony
the two sisters came to curry favor
and the white dove pecked their eyes out.
Two hollow spots were left
like soup spoons.

Cinderella and the prince
lived, they say, happily ever after,
like two dolls in a museum case
never bothered by diapers or dust,
never arguing over the timing of an egg,
never telling the same story twice,
never getting a middle-aged spread,
their darling smiles pasted on for eternity.
Regular Bobbsey Twins.
That story.
Profile Image for Janelle.
1,089 reviews131 followers
September 18, 2020
Dark, twisted and quite brilliant retellings of Grimms fairy tales, from Cinderella to sleeping beauty, Hansel and Gretel and many others. There’s sex, death , violence and cruelty, with modern day references particularly to disability and madness. For example this from Iron Hans :
“He who kills his father
and thrice wins his mother
undoes the spell.

Without Thorazine
or benefit of psychotherapy
Iron Hans was transformed.
No need for Master Medical;
no need for electroshock-
Merely bewitched all along.”

She also highlights the cruelty in the original tales of the supposedly good characters eg from Red Riding Hood :

“The wolf, they decided, was too mean
to be simply shot so they filled his belly
with large stones and sewed him up.
He was heavy as a cemetery
and when he woke up and tried to run off
he fell over dead. Killed by his own weight.”

I think that this book will be worth rereading.
Profile Image for Mikki.
43 reviews81 followers
February 28, 2011

Anne Sexton puts her spin on seventeen of the classic Grimm Fairy Tales -- simultaneously funny, twisted and dark. Each of her stories opens with a poem that introduces the tale with a comparison to modern culture.

For example, for Cinderella she writes:

You always read about it:
the plumber with the twelve children
who wins the Irish Sweepstakes.
From toilets to riches.
That story.

Or the nursemaid,
some luscious sweet from Denmark
who captures the oldest son's heart.
from diapers to Dior.
That story.

Or a milkman who serves the wealthy,
eggs, cream, butter, yogurt, milk,
the white truck like an ambulance
who goes into real estate
and makes a pile.
From homogenized to martinis at lunch.

Or the charwoman
who is on the bus when it cracks up
and collects enough from the insurance.
From mops to Bonwit Teller.
That story.


And from there she begins her version of the Fairy Tale.

There are the classic tales which we all remember from childhood--Cinderella, Snow White, Hansel and Gretel--but there are also many that were new to me. Since I own The Complete Grimm's' Fairy Tales (never knew that there were over 200), I decided to read the two versions side-by-side in order to familiarize with the original.

While all of Sexton's poems were four and five star worthy, my favorites were The Little Peasant (aka The Little Farmer) and Cinderella. I enjoyed this collection immensely and plan to continue reading the rest of the Complete Fairy Tales. Maybe just one or two right before bedtime...





Profile Image for Elizabeth.
201 reviews91 followers
October 16, 2013
Incredible!

You haven't read THESE fairy tales unless you've read 'Transformations'

I FIRST read this for a graduate school seminar: Confessional Women Poets. I've returned to it countless times and still have my copy that I purchased in 1982. So many notes and highlighted parts to taste and savor again and again. It's fascinating to be reading these stories now at age fifty one and seeing how I felt and what I thought when I was nineteen. Takes me back to countless life experiences - the fabulous, the good, the bad, the ugly. I will always be re-visiting Anne Sexton. It will be quite something when I feel that I can share THIS specific Anne Sexton collection with my ever maturing and changing daughter. We're getting closer...


Profile Image for Karsten.
17 reviews2 followers
September 6, 2012
The book is 16 of the Grimm brothers folktales, retold, and an intro poem declaring that we are all a boy who, "upon finding a nickel / he would look for a wallet. This boy! Upon finding a string / he would look for a harp." And, the poem goes on, he/we have found a gold key that will open this book, where Grimm's tales are transformed.

And upon finding the tales, we look for a...?

Sexton recognizes what is ridiculous in these old tales and drily teases it a little in every poem. The dwarves who find Snow White: "those little hot dogs." Red Riding Hood's basket of wine and cake for her ill grandmother: "Wine and cake? / Where's the aspirin? The penicillin? / Where's the fruit juice? / Peter Rabbit got camomile tea. / But wine and cake it was." The prince searching for Cinderella (who "walked around looking like Al Jolson"): "He began to feel like a shoe salesman."

All of this good-humored 20th-century detail is the magician's feint, though, so that we're smiling and looking away when the poems stab us in the heart and lance out a hot gush of corrupt wishfulness.

Cinderella and her prince live happily ever after "they say," like "two dolls in a museum case...their darling smiles pasted on for eternity...That story." They say? That story? We'll never believe again.

Red Riding Hood at the end munches cake, slurps wine, and "remember[s] nothing naked and brutal from that little death." Those being among the last words of the poem, though, we'll be remembering the naked brutality.

And Snow White? The one who was betrayed by a stepmother who "had a mirror to which she referred" while "pride pumped in her like poison"? The poem ends with Snow White's wedding, of course, where she is already "rolling her china blue eyes open and shut / and sometimes referring to her mirror / as women do."

And upon finding folk tales, we look for a...what?

A moral, maybe? A happy ending? A sense of justice? A big number in a major key? Nope. What we get here is one wry, magnificent wound after another.
Profile Image for Katy.
1,870 reviews150 followers
February 6, 2017
Some of the references can be dated for younger readers, the language is beautiful and at times disturbing. I can feel some of her suicidal tendencies in her poetry. A troubled soul with some wonderful insights into people.
Profile Image for Clara Biesel.
357 reviews10 followers
July 19, 2017
Fairy tale poetry which is scary, sexy, funny, and astonishing.
Profile Image for Pearl.
239 reviews18 followers
February 24, 2021
This collection, based off fairytales, enchants me jusssssst a little less than her previous work. It’s still beautiful and full of stunning imagery, but I think the 2011-2015 Hollywood phase of ~edgy and dark~ retellings really ruined my relationship with fairytales. I’ve also begun reading her daughters’ memoir which, while not ruining her work like I feared, definitely takes some of the shine off.
Profile Image for Melanti.
1,256 reviews116 followers
May 6, 2017
I think I've heard Anne Sexton mentioned in the same breath as Angela Carter so often that I was expecting something more along the lines of Carter's twisted retellings that have Little Red Riding Hood seducing the wolf, or Beauty turning into a lion in order to stay with the Beast.

But instead, what Sexton delivers is mostly straight-forward retellings that are surprisingly "by the book" other than a bit of change to modernize the settings. There were a few - especially towards the end of the volume - that did a little bit more, but overall, it's just your standard Grimms tales in poem form.

Which is fine, I suppose, though I'm not a huge poetry fan to begin with, but I was really looking forward to something more like Carter's fractured versions and so I ended up being a bit disappointed in the unadorned, unaltered tales.
Profile Image for Rachel Jorquera .
334 reviews94 followers
May 31, 2020
Another wonderful re-read for me.

Transformations by Anne Sexton is a contemporary retelling of well known and foundational fairy tales. Sexton reconstructs these tales in a modern way by giving them a prologue.

I really loved the way Sexton puts a confessional twist on these narratives by using the prologue to introduce a retelling that is produced from the same vein as the original tales. If you are coming at this collection of tales at the same vantage point as Carter’s retelling, you may be let down, but I encourage you to keep reading through the lines, more importantly the line breaks, to really get to the meat of these poems.

These are powerful, feminist retelling as of these male-centered and powered tales, giving women a space.

Read if you enjoy: fairy tales and telling a, feminist texts, confessional poetry.
Profile Image for Sylvain.
106 reviews37 followers
March 26, 2013
I like the sense of humour of people who commit suicide:
"As for Hansel and Gretel,
they escaped and went home to their father.
Their mother,
you'll be glad to hear, was dead."
Profile Image for Sariña.
56 reviews2 followers
January 26, 2022
Leí este libro en su versión original el año pasado y me maravilló, pero esta edición no se ha quedado atrás.

Si la portada es fascinante, esperad a ver las ilustraciones que el libro esconde en su interior. Tanto la edición como la corrección y la traducción están muy cuidadas. Soy consciente de la complejidad que hay detrás de traducir poesía, por eso, mis felicitaciones a María Ramos por transmitirnos los mismos sentimientos y emociones que la autora Anne Sexton expresó en sus poemas.

En esta obra se muestran los cuentos que siempre nos han contado, desde que éramos pequeñxs, pero con un toque de elegancia, ironía y realidad. La autora se enfoca en temas como la vejez, el sexo, la cotidianidad, el papel de la mujer en la sociedad o el amor visto desde una perspectiva muy diferente. Son cuentos, sí, pero Anne Sexton los vuelve a relatar de una manera que, cuando los leemos, nos podemos llegar a sentir identificadxs y podemos vernos reflejadxs en la vida de lxs personajes de siempre, pero de los que no siempre nos han contado la verdad; a veces solo la parte bonita que a todxs nos gusta escuchar o, en este caso, leer.

Muchas gracias a la autora, a la traductora y a la ilustradora, Sandra Rilova, por esta obra tan fantástica, pero real a la vez, real como la vida misma.
Profile Image for Ali Lloyd.
54 reviews1 follower
November 17, 2022
I liked the overall concept in theory–confessional retellings of common fairy tales with light social/political commentary?
It was just difficult for me to get into and felt a little too cohesive, so it got boring.
I recommend reading the last of the collection though, "Briar Rose," it's definitely my favorite.

Honestly I think the whole fairytale thing just was not for me. Gonna try some different Anne Sexton. 10/10 foreword by Vonnegut though.
4 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2019
My first Sexton was "Little Girl, My Stringbean, My Lovely Woman,” and I will never forget how it seemed to possess multitudes of feminine wisdom. I expected other work to pale in comparison. I was foolish in that expectation. There isn’t enough time to unpack the layers in Transformations, but suffice it to say that Sexton’s artistic and clever subversion of well-known stories is an act of deconstruction that will not leave the feminist wanting.
Profile Image for Jack.
43 reviews12 followers
December 7, 2017
Very sad in its entirety, Sexton was and is a very emotional poet, unfortunately her knack for writing good poetry was fuelled by sadness of her life. She is in every essence similar to Sylvia Plath, but also like Plath she killed herself. It is within the lines of their poetry where the reader gets the idea of how much we should actually strive to live life to its fullest otherwise we may stare into the face of death before our time is really over.

There has been an odious suggestion about Sylvia Plath’s and Anne Sexton’s poetry that has made a lot of people avert their gaze from even reading them. Plath and Sexton are both famous for being fatalistic, sadly many people refuse to read their work because on occasion their suicides have preceded their reputations as poets, thus deeming their work to be unfit to view due to its depressing nature. Both poet’s write “confessional poetry” which focuses on personal hardships and the lows of life, yet this doesn’t mean that we should turn a blind eye to their work. Plath was the wife of famous poet Ted Hughes, whose affair drove Plath to kill herself at the young age of 30, Sexton killed herself at the age of 45 by carbon monoxide poisoning.

Both of them battled with depression throughout their lives and through their poetry we can see the existentialism at its peak. I do believe however that both of them found a certain beauty in death because death to them acted as a form of deliverance from the burdens of life. Plath in her poem “Ariel” says that we “have no idea how free[ing]” death can be and Sexton says in her poem “Wanting to Die” that “suicides have a special language”, taking into these into account it furthers the idea that to them death was a very intimate experience. I personally do not agree with their outlook on life, but it is harrowing to see the extent of which someone can be crestfallen and unresponsive to the fleeting nature of life.

Sexton’s collection of poetry “Live or Die” saw her win the Pulitzer prize for poetry in 1967, it’s as if Sexton wants us to pick one, either to live or die in this world and she couldn’t deal with the former anymore so she chose the latter. I don’t think that we should read their work because it’s sad or depressing, but because instead it is through seeing their fatalism that we can get an epiphany and will perhaps mend old fences or try new things, anything really that reminds us that we need to enjoy our short existence on this planet.

Profile Image for Liam O'Leary.
467 reviews113 followers
May 2, 2018
The affectless narration of fairy tales censors the brutality that reinforces the morals they convey to condition children listeners. But what if fairy tales were retold to adults? Anne Sexton here makes a dark but not too dark rendering of fairy tales that does justice to their brutality. Each story begins with a few stanzas of abstract emotional context which I think I liked these more than the stories themselves, for they powerfully put the story in a mature emotional space.

Take Rapunzel, which begins:


A woman
who loves a woman
is forever young.
The mentor
and the student
feed off each other. [...]



...So this is probably not poetry for young children!

It's not all gloomy either, there's some dry humour too, such as her description of the burning of the witch in Hansel and Gretel as 'Altogether a memorable incident.'

I still don't feel like I have a grasp on appreciating poetry, but this is accessible and enjoyable enough for casual readers.
Profile Image for Carlos.
143 reviews3 followers
October 29, 2021
En esta primera aproximación a la obra de Anne Sexton me he encontrado con un libro en el que se recogen 16 cuentos de los hermanos Grimm, con los que Sexton es capaz de crear una obra propia, repleta de referencias contemporáneas y nuevos matices.

En estos poemas que sin ninguna duda tienen la firma de una autora que es hija de su tiempo, uno tiene la sensación de que la pluma de Anne Sexton rellena con su ingenio y su dominio del lenguaje los huecos que quedaban en la obra de los hermanos Grimm, y es algo que se consigue gracias a esa combinación entre humor ácido y crítica mordaz que nos encontramos desde que abrimos el libro.
[+en https://daybreakovertheocean.wordpres...]
Profile Image for Michael A..
412 reviews70 followers
March 29, 2018
Re-tellings of famous fairy tales - I can't say for sure but I think at least some are disguised as confessional. The poems are often sarcastic and her wit is acerbic, and sometimes it can get quite dark. I liked the retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty the most. There are references in here that make me think it is autobiographical in some way (a reference to Thorazine for instance).
Profile Image for Mir.
4,778 reviews4,983 followers
March 28, 2010
Elizabeth said: Sexton wrote a play entitled Mercy Street, which also led to the Peter Gabriel song of the same title. But, really, if you want a connection, read Sexton's The Frog Prince while listening to Gabriel's Kiss that Frog. Domesticated terror indeed. Also, Shawn Colvin's "Object of My Affection."
Profile Image for Jade.
444 reviews10 followers
May 13, 2014
Just stunning. Intro by Kurt Vonnegut-charming--weird--first poetry inspired by the fairy tale--then poetic re-telling of the fairy tale. sharp, funny, melancholy, a little shocking--a complete experience. I am so ready to start this from page one and do it again. I can't wait to read even more.
Profile Image for Eric Cartier.
239 reviews9 followers
February 3, 2019
Many of Sexton's poems here reminded me of the tone of Donald Barthelme's short stories - they're darkly humorous and winking throughout - and I quite enjoyed them.

There's a fine black and white photograph of the poet on the back cover, which is a relief, because the illustration and colors on the front cover are hideous.
Profile Image for Paige Pagnotta.
144 reviews65 followers
June 9, 2018
"And I. I too.
Quite collected at cocktail parties,
meanwhile in my head
I'm undergoing open-heart surgery.
The heart, poor fellow,
pounding on his little tin drum
with a faint death beat."

-Red Riding Hood
Profile Image for Tjaša.
44 reviews18 followers
March 17, 2018
The illustrations are beautiful in this edition and I loved Rapunzel, The Frog Prince and Briar Rose.
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