May Sarton


May Eleanor Sarton, a poet and novelist, was born in Wendelgem, Belgium on May 3, 1912, and immigrated to the United States at age four. Educated in the U.S. and abroad, she has taught and lectured on poetry at a number of universities, including Bryn Mawr, Wellesley College, and Harvard. Encounter in April (1937), her first collection of lyrics, was followed by many more volumes of poetry. Her first two novels, The Single Hound (1938) and Bridge of Years (1946), had European settings, but since 1955, New England has provided the background for most of her fiction. Faithful Are the Wounds (1955) tells of a dedicated professor's suicide amid the political pressures of the McCarthy era, and Kinds of Love (1970) explores the difficulties and triumphs of human love. A Reckoning (1978) and Anger (1982) continue this exploration, but the protagonists are now middle aged and less sanguine about the possibilities in human relationships. In addition to her many novels, Sarton has written a play, a screenplay, and such personal works as The Hours by the Sea (1977) and After the Stroke: A Journal (1988).

Her sonnet sequence, A Divorce of Lovers, is a brilliant study of two lesbians and the death of their affair.

There is a film about Ms. Sarton's life entitled "World of Light: Portrait of May Sarton." Filmed with the cooperation of May Sarton herself, we get a good picture of her life as a woman writer outside the mainstream. This film documents the final period of her long career, contemplating her work, her loves, and her influence on other women. It is available for checkout at the OGLBTC (1180 BSB).

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