Profiles of LGBT people, from the past and today – and celebrating their birthdays! All Birthdays →

May Sarton

Born in Belgium, May Sarton emigrated to the United States with her family when she was still a young child. She began writing poetry in her teens, and was first published in the December, 1930 issue of Poetry Magazine. Although best known for her poetry, Sarton also published novels, screenplays, her own journals and one play. The author once said “women have been my muse.” After the death of her parents in the 1950s, Sarton’s work increasingly dealt with gender and sexuality. Her 1965 novel, Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, is often referred to as her “coming out” novel. The novel’s title character has many biographical parallels with Sarton, including her sexuality. Mrs. Stevens was Sarton’s first novel to reach a broad college audience, particularly in women’s studies. Other prominent themes in Sarton’s highly introspective work include isolation, aging, and the natural world. Sarton continued to publish work into her eighties, before dying of breast cancer on July 16, 1995.