Sarton By the Sea

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Writer May Sarton was never fully embraced by York, the Maine town that she loved.

Written by Deborah McDermott. Photograph by Rod Kessler

Victoria Simon was a thirty-six-year-old mother of two young children when she moved to York in 1984. Shy by nature, a stranger in town, she found solace reading the journals of the author she called “my” May Sarton.

By that time, Sarton’s works were already legion. Equally prolific as a poet, memoirist, and novelist, the author had written more than forty books, and she knew and was inspired by the likes of Elizabeth Bowen and John Ciardi. She had taught courses at Harvard, Wellesley, and a host of other colleges and universities, and she had received numerous honorary degrees.

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Deborah McDermott is the Maine bureau chief of the Portsmouth Herald and the longtime editor of the York Weekly.

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