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Transformations par Anne Sexton

Transformations (original 1971; édition 1971)

par Anne Sexton

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8801519,905 (4.14)44
The fairy tale-based works of the tortured confessional poet, whose honesty and wit in the face of psychological pain have touched thousands of readers.
Auteurs:Anne Sexton
Info:Boston, Houghton Mifflin [1971]
Collections:Votre bibliothèque

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Transformations par Anne Sexton (1971)


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When it comes to poetry, I'm not an expert. I just know what I like. And I really enjoyed this. She retold several fairy tales, but she would occasional add her own comments. She referred to snow white as a " dumb bunny". And when she told her version of Little Red Riding Hood, she asked why they give wine and cake to someone who's sick. It was just a fun, quick read. ( )
  marymatus | Jan 12, 2022 |
I was expecting this collection of poetry inspired by fairy tales to be a little more abstract and to feature less direct retellings of the stories. It wasn't bad, but I didn't really love it either. ( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
There's no telling the effect that this, Plath's Ariel and Diane Wakoski had on me. Who would I be without these writers? ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |

“He turns the key.
It opens this book of odd tales.
Which transform The Brothers Grimm.
As if an enlarged paper clip
Could be a piece of sculpture.
(And it could.)”

-from The Gold Key

I am reading Transformations as part of The Complete Poems, but feel it should be discussed separately as it differs from this poet's usual style of confessional poetry. Although that is not quite true, as each of these fairy tale retellings does have a few stanzas of introduction that are modern reflections upon the larger theme, more similar to her usual work. In them topics such as deception, insomnia, remembered youth, insanity, and even incest are discussed. Each one is tied to the traditional fairy tale that follows in a thought-provoking new way, relating it to modern day issues or concepts (some of them dark or even Freudian). That was interesting.

After the introductory lines the fairy tales mostly stick to the script and are quite funny. Sexton possesses a real wit. In Red Riding Hood the wolf becomes for the reader “a strange deception: a wolf dressed in frills, a kind of transvestite”. In The Frog Prince she describes the princess’s revulsion as the frog, perched on her dinner plate “sat upon the liver, and partook like a gourmet”. So icky, yet fun to imagine! There is also humor throughout as the author wonders aloud over some questionable plot lines. For example, when Red Riding Hood sets off to visit her ill grandmother with a bottle of wine and cake, Sexton says:

“Wine and cake
Where’s the aspirin? The penicillin?
Where’s the fruit juice?
Peter Rabbit got chamomile tea.
But wine and cake it was.”

Despite her humor many of the poems do have an undercurrent of darkness running through them. Partly this is due to Sexton’s faithfulness to the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales which can be gruesome in some of their details. Early versions of these tales are often more edgy and even shocking to one who knows only Hollywood adaptations. So when Sexton’s dark side comes out it is not entirely out of place. I’m especially referencing the book’s final poem, Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty). Here is a haunting description of a girl who seeks escapism from incest by going into a coma-like sleep. She never truly recovers even after being awakened by the kiss of the prince, and suffers insomnia thereafter that requires “the court chemist mixing her some knockout drops”. An uncomfortable interpretation of the fairy tale to be sure, but entirely brilliant in its execution.

I’ve read some of this poet’s other confessional poems and found them difficult to read (although I’m not ready to give her up just yet!), but I really loved this collection. I would encourage others who aren’t quite sure about her other work, or anyone who enjoys mythology and folk tales to read Transformations.
( )
1 voter averybird | Dec 28, 2015 |
When I was small I spent many afternoons buried in my big book of Grimm's fairy tales. These poems recalled those days, except filtered through a lens of black-light posters on the walls and Jefferson Airplane spinning on the turntable. I imagined Anne Sexton situated in this tableau, reading these tales aloud, wreathed in smoke from the incense cone burning nearby. This copy also came from the library and smelled strongly of grandmother perfume, resulting in a bizarre juxtaposition of sensual stimuli. The scent overwhelmed and distracted, even as the words dissolved like bits of paper on my tongue. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
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The fairy tale-based works of the tortured confessional poet, whose honesty and wit in the face of psychological pain have touched thousands of readers.

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Bibliothèque historique: Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton a une bibliothèque historique. Les bibliothèques historiques sont les bibliothèques personnelles de lecteurs connus, qu'ont entrées des utilisateurs de LibraryThing inscrits au groupe Bibliothèques historiques [en anglais].

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Classification décimale de Melvil (CDD)

811 — Literature English (North America) American poetry

Classification de la Bibliothèque du Congrès


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