Bringing Together: Uncollected Early Poems, 1958-1988

Bringing Together: Uncollected Early Poems, 1958-1988

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by Maxine Kumin
     
 

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"The power that Kumin draws from and brings to literature is potent and seemingly inexhaustible."—Booklist
Collected here for the first time, these early poems inhabit Kumin's own "sneakstorm time," a space one step to the side, where quiet introspection examines the pain of loss, the idealism of youth, and the endurance of the natural world. Her

Overview

"The power that Kumin draws from and brings to literature is potent and seemingly inexhaustible."—Booklist
Collected here for the first time, these early poems inhabit Kumin's own "sneakstorm time," a space one step to the side, where quiet introspection examines the pain of loss, the idealism of youth, and the endurance of the natural world. Her characteristic earthy wisdom snaps with intensity, offering a refreshing perspective on everyday experiences. "New England farm life, modern American history, Jewish identity and a quietly vibrant feminist consciousness provide themes for this gathering from a long and distinguished career."—Publishers Weekly.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
New England farm life, modern American history, Jewish identity and a quietly vibrant feminist consciousness provide themes and structure for this gathering of poems from a long and distinguished career. Kumin's previous publications include memoirs, novels, essays and 13 previous books of poetry, most recently The Long Marriage (2001); the strongest of these poems might well have fit in her Selected Poems 1960-1990. Many chronicle the travails and delights of Kumin's New Hampshire horse farm, where "Snow makes Monday as white/ at supper as breakfast was," and, as one disarming title would have it, "A New England Gardener Gets Personal." The poems are undated, but Kumin astutely places most of the short-lined, quiet poems near the front of the volume; succeeding them comes work reacting to cities (Paris, New York) and public events (like the war in Vietnam). Kumin veers from her usual understatement in "Lately, at Night" (an elegy for her father) and in "The Archaeology of a Marriage," whose technique recalls Kumin's close friend Anne Sexton. The collection closes with longer poems, some in irregular rhyming stanzas, devoted to Jewish and Jewish-American topics (Purim, Passover, a visit to Egypt and Israel). While admirers should not expect, from a volume of verse Kumin left out of older collections, poems at the level of Kumin's best, they will nonetheless find a likable, careful poet recording the events and impressions that have shaped a life. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In 1958, when the earliest poems in this book were written, Pulitzer Prize winner Kumin was 33 and beginning her career by enrolling in a poetry workshop. Soon she would become friends with Anne Sexton; teach at American universities; publish Halfway, the first of 13 volumes of poetry; and settle on a 200-acre farm in New Hampshire. These experiences show up in these poems, as do echoes of Gerard Manley Hopkins's alliteration ("cakewalk-cocky with the whole mess/ of birth and rebirth the strut of the season./ Almost bliss"), Dylan Thomas's rapturous iambs and anapests ("all the loud night/ cocooned in my farmhouse bed I hear/ stones knock, an owl begin"), Anne Sexton's irony ("When Sleeping Beauty wakes up/ she is almost fifty years old"), and Robert Frost's pastoral imagery ("Above the brook a deer is tearing bark from a birch tree"). Like Frost, Kumin is an outsider poet who writes rhymed and formal verse that looks penetratingly at the natural world. One can see glimmers of her mature ability here. Recommended for academic libraries.-Diane Scharper, Towson Univ., MD Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393326376
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
01/28/2005
Pages:
123
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Maxine Kumin (1925—2014), a former U.S. poet laureate, was the author of nineteen poetry collections as well as numerous works of fiction and nonfiction. Her awards included the Pulitzer Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Aiken Taylor Award, the Poet’s Prize, and the Harvard Arts and Robert Frost medals.

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