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Still to Mow: Poems Hardcover – September 17, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (September 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393065499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393065497
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,023,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

New England rural life, the daily headlines, old age and a Jewish-American childhood are the four topics around which the latest poems from Kumin (Jack and other New Poems) weave their likable, confident way. The much-revered, prolific New Hampshire writer presents herself as a helpless citizen of a country/ I used to love, tying objections to the war in Iraq to her past as Sixties soccer mom who marched in demonstrations; to her friendship with activists in the 1940s; and to her affection for horses and dogs, whose truth to their own natures make human violence look unnatural indeed. Xochi's Tale speaks truth in the voice of a dog explaining his mixed feelings about the USA. Several villanelles, the highlights of the collection, set their own obedience to the laws of poetic form against some frightening forms of lawlessness: a friend's uncontrollable clinical depression, for example, or the terror inflicted by U.S. troops in Iraq, who invade the houses of civilians, punching kicking yelling... breaking down doors. These poems are formally assured, never obscure and committed at once to social protest and to the facts of a memorable life. (Sept.)
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"Kumin's is a poetry of wide sympathy and tact... and a tart and compassionate irony." The New Yorker" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K. M. VINE VOICE on December 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Taking a peek at the back flap, the cover artist's name is Wolf Kahn, and his smudgy, sleepily rural scene is named "The Reed Place -- Melancholia." The art and the book's title hint at serenity with a touch of ambiguity and, yes, melancholy. What isn't reflected there? Diamond-hard criticism of America's post-9/11 conduct at home and abroad and some other surprises. Best not judge wholly by the winsome but mild cover.

STILL TO MOW tills vivid images of military and political realities into simple country chores as farmers might turn under rotten apples in their orchards. Think of crumbling a clod of turned earth and feeling mashed, slimy fruit between your fingers. Then read "Mulching" and find the gardener (and, by extension, yourself) "prostrate before old suicide bombings, starvation...." Suddenly nasty realities taint the innocence of the soil...and Maxine Kumin has done her poetic job perfectly.

Some of these poems confront gruesome violence of our day head on (no pun intended) and with one passing nod to nature. For example, "The Beheadings" suggests bats' blind flights as a simile for the flight of the soul as the poem renders the terrifying fates of Nicholas Berg, Daniel Pearl, Paul Johnson, and others in the graphic terms most of us intentionally shy from in our own thoughts.

The collection is actually divided into four distinct sections: I. Landscapes, II. Please Pay Attention, III. Turn It And Turn It, and IV. Looking Back. These roughly correspond to poems about the land, the Iraq war, Jewish customs, and the poet's past. Every careful phrase evokes imagery the builds in the mind.
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