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Overview

"From a marketplace in Bangkok to the fields of New Hampshire, from recollections of her own childhood to celebrations of an infant grandson, Kumin stakes her far-flung claims with authority in her tenth book of poetry."—Publishers Weekly

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Overview

"From a marketplace in Bangkok to the fields of New Hampshire, from recollections of her own childhood to celebrations of an infant grandson, Kumin stakes her far-flung claims with authority in her tenth book of poetry."—Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
“Her poems become increasingly unforgettable, indispensable. . . . Thoreau would commend her honesty, the precision of her language and her occasional moral allegory.”
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
From a marketplace in Bangkok to the fields of New Hampshire, from recollections of her own childhood (``--I at age four with my darling nuns, / with Sister Elizabeth, Sister Ann, / am offered to Jesus, the Jewish child- / next-door'') to celebrations of an infant grandson, Kumin stakes her far-flung claims with authority in her 10th book of poetry. In singular voice, her vision alternately global and local, she is limited by neither time, location nor topic. Some poems are distinctly personal: ``A Brief History of Passion'' places her ``ardent parents'' alongside such famed lovers as Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry, while in ``Telling the Barn Swallow'' she laments her cellist daughter's departure to another land where ``she will raise her children / in a language that rusts in my mouth / in a language that locks up my jaw.'' Flannery O'Connor and Anne Sexton (``my suicided long-term friend''), a brother uneasily reunited with a 91-year-old friend still passionate about horses--these prompt specific poems, many of which consider aging and mortality. Kumin ( House, Bridge, Fountain, Gap ) is at her best in poems about animals. Cows remembered from her youth, lambs raised to be slaughtered, a just-born foal with eyes ``as innocent, as skittery/as minnows'' inspire her clearest, most immediate response. (Feb.)
Library Journal
As one of our most accomplished poets, as well as a seasoned New Englander, world traveler, accomplished horsewoman, and bemused veteran of the poetry reading circuit, Kumin demonstrates in this, her tenth collection, that she is an avowed believer in the daily poetry that is life. As she writes, ``I believe in living on grateful terms/ with the earth, with the black crumbles/ of ancient manure that sift through my fingers/ when I topdress the soil.'' Kumin's good-natured and observant poems vividly capture the active round of her days and travels. In Bangkok, people crawl under a good luck elephant, like a ``wrinkly umbrella that smells/ of dust and old age/ and a thousand miracles,'' and the profligate lushness of California suggests that ``God appears here a forgetful sloven/rotund and careless with cotyleodons,/strewing the land with seed as if in mid-yawn/ letting a little of every unplanned/good thing trickle from the almighty hand.'' These wise, affirmative poems are a pleasure to read. Highly recommended.-- Christine Stenstrom, New York Law Sch. Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393309478
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/17/1993
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.40 (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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