I have tried them all,
The cotton, the nylon,
absorbing water, rolling in sand,
sticky flakes of broken glass.
We all drown in the end.
The literature of Massachusetts seems to reflect this fear. It is a literature of insanity, of extreme emotion; “Boston!” the teenage lunatics of Susannah Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted cry, in between bouts of failed suicide attempts, “Boston! You could jump out at a red light and split.” In the old Ritz-Carlton, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath used to meet after poetry workshops to down martinis and discuss their respective death wishes. And the Old Corner Bookstore? — Built in 1712, the building itself was erected to replace the ruins of Anne Hutchinson’s home, that Puritan woman cast out of Boston for talking to God.
Our own Rhian Sasseen on Boston’s offbeat literature.
Anne Sexton reads “Wanting to Die.”