BBC Radio 4 has a fantastic documentary on one of then 20th century’s great poets, Anne Sexton, who struggled with mental illness throughout her adult life and eventually committed suicide at the age of 46.
Uniquely, tapes of Sexton’s psychotherapy sessions with psychiatrist Martin Orne were found after her death giving an alternative insight into her mental life.
The programme dramatises excerpts from the tapes and talks to members of her family about her life, writing and frequent hospitalisations.
Sexton is typically classified as one of the ‘confessional’ poets, although, regardless of the label, her work is certainly very personal and reveals an articulate if not fragile look at many key relationships in her life.
Because of the BBC’s archive of doom, you only have three days to listen to it before it disappears for good into the abyss, although it is well worth catching if you get the chance.
Link to BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘Consorting with Angels’.