By Paula M. Salvio
The poet's lifestyles as a instructor.
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Additional info for Anne Sexton: Teacher of Weird Abundance (S U N Y Series, Feminist Theory in Education)
Leverich writes of the sudden death of his own father when he was eight years old, and his admitted proclivity to “look for a mother and father . . ”⁶ As I read this letter, I felt as if Leverich had isolated the ache of loss because it was so deeply tied to diﬃcult emotions. Such acts of isolation not only numb pain, but they hold it in reserve, blocking it from circulating in our imagination and in our contacts with other people. ” Drawing on clinical observations made by Freud and Karl Abraham in 1922 of the increased sexual activity of people who experienced a death in the family, Abraham and Torok propose a new category of psychology.
I didn’t go because I knew I wouldn’t see what I wanted. I wouldn’t see a miniature you . . ”⁴ Leverich’s interest in knowing Sexton is, as he notes, a fantasy that I found troubling. On the one hand, I worried about Sexton. To what extent were the images in Leverich’s letter symptoms of his desire to swallow his teacher up, a violent fantasy through which to threaten his teacher’s authority and claim her for his very own? On the other hand, I worried about Leverich. To what extent did Sexton’s memories of sexual distress and loss ﬁgure into her pedagogy at this time, mixing in with this student’s past, a past wrought with pain and loss that he may very well have been working hard to forget?
I myself like clam rolls. But I have more than a clam roll in common with the rapist. What have I ever wanted to take? When have I ever wanted to scare and terrify? . If you will look around you with eyes stripped you will hear voices calling from the crowd. Each has his own love song. Each has a moment of violence. ⁸ In asking her students, almost all of whom were male, to locate the emotional contingencies between themselves and the persona of a rapist, Sexton threatens to disband any sense they might have of psychic cohesion, goodness, or well-being.
Anne Sexton: Teacher of Weird Abundance (S U N Y Series, Feminist Theory in Education) by Paula M. Salvio