So bountiful a poet is Pultizer Prize winner Kumin, she has put together her second selected collection, which combines poems from her last five collections with a harvest of glowing new work. Farm and family life in New Hampshire are Kumin’s wellsprings, while her lexicon is built out of the names of plants, rocks, trees, birds, and animals. Kumin favors couplets for their parallels and opposites, but whatever form she chooses, her vital rhythms match a horse’s canter, a human’s stride. She looks to animals for wisdom, from a dog’s delight “in the moment” as opposed to our constant worries about the past and the future, to an old, ailing broodmare who turns suddenly young again in the presence of a companionable gelding. Kumin is earthy and hands-on but hardly rustic as she jets off to Bulgaria and Bangkok; keenly parses Coleridge, Wordsworth, and the women who suffered their obsessions; and decisively critiques Bush-era torture and lies. But Kumin always circles back to the giving land, the clasp of family, and her bedrock belief in the power of art. --Donna Seaman
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About 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.