Yesterday, I was browsing in Barnes & Noble and saw the collected poems of Anne Sexton. I read her short bio on the back and thought, this looks interesting. I’m going to put her on the shelf next to Sylvia and Virginia.
Anyways, later on I decided to Google her and discovered she freaking molested her own daughter.
So now I’m like, how can I read this? Poetry is a pretty deep thing and I don’t really want to get into the head of a child molester. I have major OCD with this stuff and I’ll start thinking there’s something wrong with me, too. I feel I should return it.
On the other hand, if we don’t read or listen to any work of art that wasn’t written by a saint post-sinful, then we’re gonna be pretty bored.
But she sexually abused her. own. kid.
(The only consolation is that she’s not making any money off of it because she’s dead.)
Her work was clearly excellent, but her behavior… She was also very mentally ill, not that that excuses her or impugns other ill people.
I wonder, is there a certain limit beyond which we can’t be forgiven? I’m inclined to say yes on this particular sin. But it’s not up to me to decide.
What I need to decide is what to do with the book.
There is much to say on the topic of whether or not the personal “worthiness” of an artist should be considered when consuming art, but I’ve got a return period policy to adhere to.
So my question to the Internet is–what would you do? Keep the book or return it?