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Sarton, May (1912-1996)  
page: 1  2  

Works such as Writings on Writing (1980) collect essays and interviews Sarton gave over the years. In the film May Sarton: A Self-Portrait (1982), Sarton discussed issues such as poetry, romantic love, Nature, her parents, and "inner space." In this film, Sarton discussed aging and its effects on her as a woman and as a writer.

She read "Gestalt at Sixty," a poem that evokes the hard struggles of a watershed year. The house becomes, for the poet, a sanctuary, a safe space where questions are both welcome and scary. Another film, May Sarton: Writing in the Upward Years (1991), further explored her feelings about aging.

In both films and in her writing as well, the symbol of the phoenix shapes and centers the work. The bird that rose out of its own ashes parallels Sarton's own career. The journals inform us of a woman who often had to fight for publication, let alone recognition. All of her career, she claimed to want an inclusive readership, one that was not limited to any group, but to which she was free to speak and to give an honest reflection of her life.

Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have one word in common: courage. One of her best journals, entitled Plant Dreaming Deep (1968), may be as much of a reminder for its writer as for its readers: Dreams need time to clarify and grow. In the deep places, the seed emerges.

Kenneth Pobo

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Kallet, Marilyn. A House Of Gathering. Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 1993.

Peters, Margot. May Sarton: A Biography. New York: Knopf, 1997.

Saum, Karen. "The Art of Poetry XXXII; May Sarton." Paris Review 25 (Fall 1983): 80-110.

Sibley, Agnes Marie. May Sarton. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1972.


    Citation Information
    Author: Pobo, Kenneth  
    Entry Title: Sarton, May  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2002  
    Date Last Updated July 8, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 1995, 2002 New England Publishing Associates  


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