Transformations by Anne Sexton ; With Drawings by Barbara Swan
Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1971. First edition, first printing, stated on copyright page. Hardcover. 111 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm. $5.00 dust jacket. Foxing to rear dust jacket, as well as page edges. Binding is firm, and pages unmarked.
"What a wild, astonishing, bloodcurdling book Anne Sexton has written." — Stanley Kunitz
Preface by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Beware! Keep out of reach of children!
These poem-stories are a strange reenactment of seventeen Grimm fairy tales. What is most astonishing about these transformations is that they end up being as wholly personal as Anne Sexton's most intimate poems, coming curiously, for all their story-sound, from as deep a place. C. K. Williams writes: "Her metaphoric strength has never been greater — really funny, among other things, a dark, dark laughter." The tales she has transformed include "Snow White," "Rumpelstiltskin," "Rapunzel," "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," "The Frog Prince," and "Red Riding Hood." They create a wonderful little universe, and show the poet in a new role, with a voice strangely prophetic.
In his preface Kurt Vonnegut says: "I asked a poet friend one time what it was that poets did, and he thought awhile and then he told me, 'They extend the language.' Anne Sexton does a deeper favor for me: she domesticates my terror, examines it and describes it, teaches it some tricks which will amuse me, then lets it gallop into my forest once more."
ANNE SEXTON's Love Poems appeared, to wide acclaim, in 1969. Live or Die, published in 1966, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In England her Selected Poems was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Her first book, To Bedlam and Part Way Back, published in 1960, and her second, All My Pretty Ones, in 1962, early established her as one of our outstanding American poets. Born in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1928, she grew up in Wellesley, and now lives in Weston with her husband and two daughters. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper's, Hudson Review, Partisan Review, Poetry, and many other magazines. She held the Robert Frost Fellowship at Breadloaf and was one of the first Scholars at the Radcliffe Institute for Independent Study. She was awarded the first traveling fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a grant from the Ford Foundation, and also the first literary-magazine travel grant under the auspices of the Congress of Cultural Freedom. In 1965, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in London, and in 1970 was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Tufts University. In the same year her play, Mercy Street, was put on in New York. She has given many poetry readings here and abroad.
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