Wednesday, January 26, 2011

On Writers on Writing, Linda Gray Sexton and Jill Bialosky

Join co-host Marrie Stone as she interviews two authors on the subject suicide in memoir.  Marrie will be in conversation with Jill Bialosky, author of History of a Suicide: My Sister's Unfinished Life (Atria, February 2011) and Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Anne Sexton's daughter, Linda Gray Sexton, author of Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide.  

Tune in this morning at 9:00 a.m. (PT) on 88.9FM, Irvine, or listen through our live audio stream at  You can always download our podcasts at iTunes (talk/news) or right here!

Thanks for listening!


1 comment:

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said...

My dear friend, the mystery author Noreen Ayres, tried to post this on the blog, to no avail. I said I'd do it for her.

I was more than "half in love" with Anne Sexton's writing when I was young. I unconsciously imitated that voice in my poetry when I started writing, and probably since. I thought she was a greater poet than Plath, but Plath still gets the most press.

I even have a brief letter from the senior Sexton, the two of us celebrating victory over the deep urge to end our lives, after her book Live or Die came out. I framed the letter; she had drawn a little flower on the bottom. And then, when I was still in those dangerous years, in 1974, she did the deed. I was heartbroken. And mad. But I didn't kill myself. The fact that I had a daughter I could not hurt kept me from doing it. That, and a Barry Spacks poem called “An Emblem of Two Foxes.” It starts out, “Simply to breathe can make him bleed...,” about a fox in a trap; and that is how I felt in those days I was suicidal. (I got to meet him one time, and told him how he helped save me.)

The danger in my imitating Sexton’s voice is that I wrote a poem in her hard-hearted style that might have been misunderstood later by my daughter, one about her “coming to me bird mouth, wanting my food.” Sexton wasn’t really hard-hearted. It was a vest she wore, a style of gritted teeth against defeat. Maybe Linda Sexton was victim to that misunderstanding too. I look forward to reading her book.

I did love hearing Linda S. explain the difference between memoir and autobiography on your podcast. She sounded like such a wise woman. I wish her well.

Thanks for having her on, Barbara!

Noreen Ayres