by Anne Sexton
Where It All Goes Down
The Outskirts of the Known World
We know that there are some links to our everyday existence in this poem, but our speaker positions herself as an outsider looking in. When everyone else is hunkered down in their neat little houses, our speaker charts new courses over the skies and into the wilds. We never get around to roaming the streets of her world – probably because she herself is too busy avoiding them.
Sexton blends fantasy with social reality to produce a curious mix of known and unknown landscapes. (Hey, if you think this isn't enough fantasy for you, check out Transformations, her collection of poems re-writing Grimm's fairy tales.) Perhaps that's because she enjoys thinking about worlds populated by witches, worms, and elves. Then again, maybe Sexton's making a subtle point about the worlds where strong, independent women can live…they don't quite exist yet. At least, not outside of the realm of fantasy. Depressing? You betcha.