Remembering this, the whole complex rich interplay of workshop comes back, of Holmes and Starbuck and Albert and Sexton and Kumin during the three years we held forth on our own over coffee and whiskey and carbon copies of our poems, and before that, around the long oak table at 5 Commonwealth Avenue in a second-story room that smelled of chalk and wet overshoes. There, Anne and I, in a funny mixture of timidity and bravado, prayed that our poems would rise to the top of the pile under Professor Holmes’s fingers as he alternately fussed with his pipe and shuffled pages, and one of us would thus be divinely elected for scrutiny.
 See Anne Sexton, The Complete Poems (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981), xix-xxxiv. For an insightful investigation of the relationship (personal and poetical) between Kumin and Sexton, see Diana Hume George, “Itinerary of an Obsession: Maxine Kumin’s Poems to Anne Sexton,” in Original Essays on the Poetry of Anne Sexton, ed. Francis Bixler (Conway: AK: University of Central Arkansas Press, 1988), 243-66.
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All of the poems and two of the essays are included in this section, along with a link to an article by Jesse D. Mann, Theological Librarian at Drew University entitled “Anne Sexton at Drew,” which sprung from the donation of Maxine’s personal library to the Library at Drew.
Excerpt from Red Riding Hood, Ann Sexton
We are not rewarded for truth telling; we are punished or excluded.While it is true that the confessional mode implies a type of honesty in the act of confession itself, Anne Sexton revealed that she was emotionally guarded despite the apparent vulnerability of her poems: “I, who reportedly write so truthfully about myself, so openly, am not that open” (Middlebrook).
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One other fact. As is evident from her poetry, Anne Sexton was strongly attracted to, indeed sought vigorously a kind of absolutism in religion that was missing from the Protestantism of her inheritance. She wanted God as a sure thing, an Old Testament avenger admonishing his Chosen People, an authoritarian yet forgiving God decked out in sacrament and ceremony. Judaism and Catholicism each exerted a strong gravitational pull. Divine election, confession and absolution, the last rites, these were her longings. And then an elderly, sympathetic priest, one of many priests she encountered-accosted might be a better word-along the way, said a saving thing to her, said the magic and simple fact that kept her alive at least a year beyond her time, and made the awful rowing a possibility. “God is in your typewriter,” he told her. Thus she went to her typewriter and thus, according to your lights, she found, or invented Him.
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Barbara Schwartz was the last of Anne Sexton’s many therapists. What makes this volume especially unique is that Maxine Kumin and Barbara Schwartz were probably the last two people to have seen Sexton alive. The day of her suicide, Sexton had a session with Schwartz in the morning, then met Kumin for lunch during which the two women discussed the galley proofs of . After that lunch, Anne went home, closed her garage door, turned on her automobile, and died of carbon monoxide poisoning.