May Sarton

Author: May Sarton

Profile: May Sarton was a novelist, poet and a memoirist. She was born in Wondelgem, Belgium and died in York, Maine. The pen name of Eleanore Marie Sarton is May Sarton.

Her most notable award is the Sarton Memoir Award.

Judith ‘Judy’ Matlack was her partner.

Her finest work is personalized vehemently with erotic female imagery she repelled the ‘lesbian writer’ label, choosing to convey the human love universality to the readers.

Her family fled to her maternal grandmother’s home in Ipswich, England, when the German troops invaded Belgium after Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination in 1914. They moved to Boston, Massachusetts after a year where she began lessons in theatre however all through her adolescent continued to write poetry. In 1929 she graduated from Cambridge High and Latin School and went to school in Cambridge, Massachusetts. May Sarton got a Vassar scholarship however was more inclined towards theatre especially after seeing the performance of Eva Le Gallienne in The Cradle Song. She worked as apprentice in New York at the Le Gallienne’s Civic Repertory Theatre for a year, continued to write poetry. In December 1930 she published a series of sonnets at the age of seventeen. At 19 years she lived in Paris for a year and got associated with cultural and literary figures including Elizabeth Bowen, Virginia Woolf, Juliette Huxley, Julian Huxley etc. She and both the Huxley’s had affairs. The Single Hound was her debut novel she published in 1938 within this very community and environment. She met Judith in 1945 who remained her partner for the next thirteen years. When Sarton’s father died in 1956, they Judith and May Sarton separated and May moved to Nelson, New Hampshire and later to York, Maine.

Writing style: May Sarton’s genre is fiction, non-fiction, children’s literature and poetry.

Published Texts:

Poetry Books

1937 – Encounter in April

1939 – Inner Landscape

1948 – The Lion and the Rose

1953 – The Land of Silence

1958 – In Time Like Air

1961 – Cloud, Stone, Sun, Vine

1966 – A Private Mythology

1967 – As Does New Hampshire

1971 – A Grain of Mustard Seed

1972 – A Durable Fire

1930-1973 (1974) – Collected Poems

1978 – Selected Poems of May Sarton

1980 – Halfway to Silence

1984 – Letters from Maine

1930-1993 (1993) – Collected Poems

1994 – Coming Into Eight

From May Sarton’s Well: Writings of May Sarton

Nonfiction

1959 – I Knew a Phoenx: Sketches for an Autobiography

1968 – Plant Dreaming Deep

1973 – Journal of a Solitude

1976 – A World of Light

1977 – The House by the Sea

1980 – Recovering: A Journal

1980 – Writings on Writing

1982 – May Sarton: A Self-Portrait

1984 – At Seventy: A Journal

1988 – After the Stroke

1992 – Endgame: A Journal of the Seventy-Ninth Year

1993 – Encore: A Journal of the Eightieth Year

1996 – At Eighty-Two

Novels

1938 – The Single Hound

1946 – The Bridge of Years

1946 – The Return of Corporal Greene

1950 – Shadow of a Man

1952 – A Shower of Summer Days

1955 – Faithful are the Wounds

1957 – The Birth of a Grandfather

1957 – The Fur Person

1961 – The Small Room

1963 – Joanna and Ulysses

1965 – Mrs.Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing

1966 – Miss Pickthorn and Mr.Hare

1969 – The Poet and the Donkey

1970 – Kinds of Love

1973 – As We Are Now

1975 – Crucial Conversations

1978 – A Reckoning

1982 – Anger

1985 – The Magnificent Spinster

1989 – The Education of Harriet Hatfield

Awards and Acknowledgements:

1958 - Elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

1994 – Winner of the Levinson Prize (Coming Into Eighty)

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