Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyIn her ninth volume of poetry, Kumin warns of impending eco-catastrophe and summons up nurturing, conservationist instincts that might yet save us. She observes the rituals of Antarctic birds, warns reindeer against eating radioactive wastes and pens heartbreaking lyrics on the endangered manatee, trumpeter swan, white fox. Occasional and autobiographical poems in this collection carry over the theme of our disrupted relationship with nature. Kumin pays homage to vegetarian George Bernard Shaw and to Georgia O'Keeffe. Alert, conversational, ever-questioning, she muses on a Cape Canaveral shuttle launch, middle age, the possibility of an afterlife, the technology that may destroy us. In travelogue-poems she searches for her roots in Salzburg, Austria, ``for some thin line of comfort that binds us.'' One long, notably candid piece, ``Marianne, My Mother, and Me,'' traces changes in America's mindset over seven decades through the intertwined destinies of poet Marianne Moore and Kumin's mother. (Mar.)
Library Journal - Library JournalRoughly a third of the poems in Kumin's ninth collection focus on an urgent, uncomfortable theme: humankind's blind destruction of wildlife in the name of economic well-being. Acknowledging that nature is ``a catchment of sorrows,'' she nevertheless notes the poisoned caribou, the manatee ``sidewiped by boat propellers.'' The imagery is often vivid and the concern indisputably real, but Kumin's language cannot approach the visual eloquence of the animals themselves, a task only Marianne Moore could consistently accomplish. Ironically, Moore is the guiding light of Nurture 's most engaging poem, ``Marianne, My Mother, and Me,'' an autobiographical narrative that spans 50 years of the poet's life and deftly conflates private with public history. The direct expression of sentiment--not the sentimental--remains Kumin's hallmark, now more strongly than ever.-- Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib.
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