May Sarton

The New Hampshire Poet

May 3, 1912
Today is the birthday of the prolific writer and poet May Sarton.
She came out in 1965 after her parents died. The decision impacted her career.
May’s writing centers on our humanity, our relationships with ourselves and others, our values, and mindfulness. In a 1983 profile in The New York Times, May said,

“I make people think, 'I have flowers in my house, why don't I look at them?' The thing that is peaceful for me is that I feel I have helped people. I'm constantly told, 'You've said the things I've wanted to say.'”

Margaret Roach writes about discovering May Sarton this way:

“She actually came to my attention thanks to two men, at different times in my life. I might have missed her altogether if not for a one-two punch by Sydney Schanberg, an ex-New York Times colleague who, thirty-odd years ago, offhandedly said, “You would like May Sarton,” and then years later my therapist gave me “Journal of a Solitude”... They knew that the natural world, and specifically the garden, called to me, as it did Sarton.”

May wrote :

A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.”

May’s tiny home in Nelson, New Hampshire, was her happy place. She had a garden which she loved, and she cared for many houseplants.
She once wrote these relatable garden witticisms:

“I am not a greedy person except about flowers and plants, and then I become fanatically greedy.”
“True gardeners cannot bear a glove Between the sure touch and the tender root.”
And some of her thoughts on gardening are prayerlike:
“Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.”
Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”

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May Sarton
May Sarton

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