Book of the Week #9

Telling the Barn Swallow: Poets on the Poetry of Maxine Kumin edited by Emily Grosholtz (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1997).

Maxine Kumin was a gifted writer and poet and a tremendous friend to, and supporter of, the book world (including helping out the Center for the Book whenever she was asked over the years) and her recent death is a great loss to us all. Telling the Barn Swallow  gave a variety of writers an opportunity to talk about Kumin's work and what it meant to them while she was still here to read what they said.
"Maxine Kumin's poetry deserves its popularity, for it is hopeful without being sentimental, formal without being contrived, and deliberative without being doctrinaire. Over the past four decades it has consistently and increasingly won a loyal readership, and Kumin is widely recognized as one of the leading women of letters in this country. Yet the critical response to her poetry has not been proportionate to the importance of her art and acclaim, perhaps because her life's geography has removed her from the cultural capitals where poetic reputations are invented. ...in Kumin's poetry the perspective is at once cosmopolitan and local, urban and rustic, human and female. Her subjects are as likely to be her grandchildren as the exigencies of art, the cruelty of barn cats as the follies of her countrymen, the weather afflicting her farm as street fighting in Paris or Jerusalem." (Editor's Introduction, p. ix)

If you are not familiar with Kumin's work I would recommend Where I Live: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 as a good collection to begin with. It concludes with Kumin's thoughts on "Death, etc." 

No comments: