Writer Diane Middlebrook, author of the seminal Anne Sexton biography, has died at the age of 68. Middlebrook was born in Idaho and published her first poem at the age of eight. She got her Ph.D. in literature at Yale and taught at Stanford for 35 years. In addition to the Sexton bio, Middlebrook wrote well-received portraits of a female jazz musician, Billy Tipton, who passed as a man throughout her career, and of the epic marriage of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath. The Sexton tome got the most attention, though, because Middlebrook used confidential tapes given to her by Sexton's shrink as a foundational source for the biography. Eulogist Carole Angier says of Middlebrook in the Guardian: "She kept the courage and conviction of the child who invented herself, who made herself a poet and professor when there were no such things in her world." [Guardian]