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The Long Marriage: Poems Paperback – May 17, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Distinguished poet Kumin (Connecting the Dots, etc.), who has found inspiration in her rural life on a New Hampshire horse farm, garnered critical praise and respectable sales last year with her prose memoir, Inside the Halo and Beyond: Anatomy of a Recovery, an account of grievous injuries she sustained after a fall from a horse. This new collection, her first after a well-received Selected Poems: 1960-1990 (1997), contains poems that pertain to this experience, with observant details about physical therapy classes that would have daunted a writer of less steely strength. Always buoyantly optimistic in previous books, the poet is put to the test here by potentially gloomy subject matter, as in the poem "Grand Canyon": "Outings for wheelchair postulants/ are regular affairs here on the brink/ of this improbably upheaved landscape/... The fact is, no conjecture can resolve/ why I survived this broken neck/ known in the trade as the hangman's fracture,/ this punctured lung, eleven broken ribs,/ a bruised liver, and more...." Kumin is able to find humor in her situation, and carefully keeps an ear to her fellow patients' speech patterns. In "Grady, Who Lost a Leg in Korea, Addresses Me in the Rehab Gym," she records plausible speech: "Now those guys over there/ in chairs? They got the sugar/ Diabetes. Works like a cannibal,/ one leg, then the other." There are also poems in homage to Muriel Rukeyser and to birds. The book is uneven and overlong, but Kumin's avid readership will find irresistible this evidence of her overcoming severe physical injury.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In her recent prose memoir, Inside the Halo (Norton, 2000), Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Kumin wrote of her torturously slow recovery from an equestrian accident, which left her with a broken neck and other serious injuries. This is the first book of poems to emerge after that accident in July 1998, and its contents display an even more developed richness of spirit than do previous works. Although several of the poems treat Kumin's 50-plus year marriage, one feels that the book's title may refer to "marriage" as a kind of covenant between the poet and her environment. Kumin lives in rural New England, and the farming atmosphere is never far from her heart ("a black melt has seized the squash vines"). Divided into seven sections, this collection also includes poems about sociopolitical situations (capital punishment, extinct wildlife, revolutions), considerations of aging and rehabilitation, and tributes to Hopkins, Wordsworth, Rukeyser, and Rilke. Kumin concludes with two poems on the agony and confused emotions of surviving a friend's suicide (her mentor and close colleague, poet Anne Sexton, committed suicide in 1974): "We are trapped in the plot, every one./ Left behind, there is no oblivion." Highly recommended. Judy Clarence, California State Univ. Lib., Hayward
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Poems
  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (May 17, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393324370
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393324372
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By James W. Obermayer on March 20, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I saw her Obit and decided I should read this book. It has been very satisfying and I liked it very much. Especially considering I am not prone to reading a lot of poetry. I buy it but never seem to finish. This one I reluctantly finished. Nice to know there is more where this came from.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Maxine Kumin has long been a favorite of mine for her steady eye on what it means to be human in a natural world. She is honest and yet hopeful about human relationships in the face of cruelty and death. In these poems she studies the headlines and brings disasters into her kitchen and garden even as she heals from her own injuries. Her death nearly a year ago is still a great loss.
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Format: Paperback
Misfortunes never neglect us even in our old age. They come again and again to haunt and injury our body and our spirit. Kumin's collection reflects on these experiences, some are misfortunes, that come to her, and to us, to bruise our lips, our hearts, our memories of friendships, our relationship to the natural world, and our souls. Hollie likes her so I thought I would give the poet a thorough try. Besides, Kumin breeds Arabian and quarter horses. And reading Kumin inspires me to concoct mediterranean cuisines, pita with hummus and Yukon potatoes sauteed with cumin. A good anthology to begin to sample the spirit of a delectable Philadelphia native:

"When Mother was little, all/ that she knew about flying was what/ her bearded grandfather told her:/ every night your soul flies/ out of your body and into/ God's lap. He keeps it under his handkerchief until morning."
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Format: Paperback
Nice collection
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