- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (November 17, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393322610
- ISBN-13: 978-0393322613
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 7.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,446,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Inside the Halo and Beyond: The Anatomy of a Recovery
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From a singular experience she has created a lesson that is universal, which, it seems to me, is the essence of being a poet. -- Abraham Verghese, author of The Tennis Partner
Here is a singular story of survival, an earthly miracle wrought by family devotion, gardens, horses, guts. A compelling read. -- Carolyn Heilbrun
Maxine Kumin brings the sensitivity and imagination of a poet to her extraordinary ordeal. -- Richard Selzer, author of Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery
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.
Top customer reviews
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However, as wonderful as Sexton's poetry is, and I love Anne Sexton's poetry, Maxine Kumin's poetry and prose can well stand on its own considerable merits.
Inside The Halo is a wonderful, gutsy, thoughtful book.
Having had some "orthopedic trauma" myself, though nowhere as severe as the accident Kumin survived, I can attest to the abundant truth she tells about the frustrations and joys of rehabilitation, and the "tough tenderness" of the best therapists.
Kumin also speaks movingly of how her amazing husband, children, and grandchildren rallied to see her through.
This is a difficult book to write about, because words like "uplifting" have become debased with casual use.
However, I am of the unshakable opinion that all doctors, nurses, therapists, and lovers of great writing would find something real in this fine book.
More than a story of pluck and resilience this book delivers joy in its reaffirmation of what nourishes us: loving relationships. Relationships with husband, son, daughters, and friends--both old and newly formed in recovery-- and relationships to the land, to its bounty. It seems impossible for someone so connected to life to ever give up on it easily. Kumin narrates, in journal form, her struggles and how she didn't quit.
Kumin's life unfolds in this book. We see the stoic formed when her adored father "hovered in the doorway" when she was ill as a child; the horse lover who takes "deep pleasure" in seeing her horses in action; the gardener describing cauliflower and broccoli lovingly planted in May from seeds started on living room windowsills; and the poet who says of her farmhouse, "All of my doors are held open by stones."
The mother and wife are here, too. Kumin's daughter, Judith, spends months with her mother. It is comforting to read of a supportive, caring, daughter/mother relationship that flourishes during a time of great stress. Kumin is not afraid to tell us about moments of guilt and despair: "How I feel about my accident is quite simply that I screwed up everybody's life by living through it."
All this is written within a flowing narrative style that is groomed by this writer's cumulative knowledge of what is important in language and life.
Maxine Kumin is one of my favorite poets. I cheered when this well-paced chronicle led to a spring when this writer was finally back in the "peaceful kingdom" of her farm in New Hampshire. I am grateful the author has offered a book that allows us to witness her struggle as she looked inward and reached out.