In a Filter Magazine interview (2009), Morrissey said of her:
"Who, in your mind, was the last quizzically peculiar person to do or make something meaningful?
I would think of someone like Anne Sexton, a very beautiful woman and quite glamorous...but the outside of her body had no relation to what was inside. So, for me, she's steeped in mystery and interest. And, of course, she ended her life, which is greatly dignified."
A quote from her poem "Live" featured on a drum header (Paris, March 8, 2023):
Live or die, but don't poison everything.
The drum header was changed to an image of Anne at Dublin (July 16, 2023):
Her image was used as a backdrop during "Alma Matters" (December 4, 2022):
Her poetry recitation has been used in pre-show tracks.
Morrissey choosing "Wanting To Die" (1964):
Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.
I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.
Then the almost unnameable lust returns.
Even then I have nothing against life.
I know well the grass blades you mention,
the furniture you have placed under the sun.
But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.
Twice I have so simply declared myself,
have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,
have taken on his craft, his magic.
In this way, heavy and thoughtful,
warmer than oil or water,
I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.
I did not think of my body at needle point.
Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.
Suicides have already betrayed the body.
Still-born, they don't always die,
but dazzled, they can't forget a drug so sweet
that even children would look on and smile.
To thrust all that life under your tongue!--
that, all by itself, becomes a passion.
Death's a sad Bone; bruised, you'd say,
and yet she waits for me, year after year,
to so delicately undo an old wound,
to empty my breath from its bad prison.
Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,
raging at the fruit, a pumped-up moon,
leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,
leaving the page of the book carelessly open,
something unsaid, the phone off the hook
and the love, whatever it was, an infection.
- World Peace Is None Of Your Business Tour 2014-2017 Pre-show Tracks
- Low In High School Tour 2017-2018 Pre-show Tracks
- The Interview. A LARKS' TONGUE IN APRIL. - Morrissey Central (June 24, 2019)
- Live In Concert 2023 Pre-show Tracks
Anne Sexton (born Anne Gray Harvey; November 9, 1928 – October 4, 1974) was an American poet known for her highly personal, confessional verse. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967 for her book Live or Die. Her poetry details her long battle with bipolar disorder, suicidal tendencies, and intimate details from her private life, including relationships with her husband and children, whom it was later alleged she physically and sexually assaulted.