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The Pawnbroker's Daughter: A Memoir Hardcover – July 13, 2015
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“This splendid memoir is a must for any reader. You’ve got to love the modesty of the title, The Pawnbroker’s Daughter, when if one of Kumin’s many admirers such as myself had chosen the title it would have been The Fabulous Autobiography of the World’s Best Poet. In its subtle, understated way, her prose is like her poetry, so evocative that it can make your skin prickle. It’s a quiet book, but from the first page to the last, I couldn’t put it down.”
- Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
“What a treat to curl up with this keenly observed, beautifully written, and altogether glorious memoir. Kumin is one of life’s great celebrants, a luminous wordsmith in both poetry and prose, a true American literary treasure.”
- Diane Ackerman
“This beautiful memoir evokes the beautiful, meaningful life of the groundbreaking poet and humanist Maxine Kumin. Like her poetry, her prose is direct and incandescent at once, and The Pawnbroker’s Daughter is often moving and witty and always remarkably wise. Kumin is greatly missed in the world about which she wrote with such brilliance and ardor. We are very fortunate to have her words.”
- Hilma Wolitzer
“Maxine Kumin’s quietly powerful memoir is so graceful we almost forget it was no easy task for a pawnbroker’s daughter, predestined housewife of the 1950s to become a Pulitzer Prize poet, mother of three children, breeder and rider of horses, grower of vegetables, expert swimmer and cross-country skier, New Hampshire farmer, and writer of novels and children’s books. And I never heard her raise her voice except in laughter and song.”
- Dan Wakefield
“As soon as I finished reading Maxine Kumin’s The Pawnbroker’s Daughter, I started it over again. Hers is an irresistible, no-nonsense, original voice that made itself felt in a male-dominated literature and academia, and now we know how it all came about. It belongs with her poetry, as an afterword and a sweet goodbye.”
- Philip Schultz
“Everything comes alive in these pages that, like her poems, always say more than the simple words. When you enter this book, this life, you enter the wonderful world that becomes her PoBiz farm, a world not just for poets but for anyone who is enthralled by the world and wants to leave it ‘full of the last clover.’”
- Richard Jackson
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.
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to being such a long time admirer of Anne Sexton, that although I knew Kumin's poetry only because she and Sexton
were friends, I mainly kept my focus on Sexton. Over the years, long after Sexton's death, the continued maturity
and wisdom and craft and powerful writings of Kumin won me over, all on her own merits. I have continued
to read her work over the years and found her to be worth every award she won. This book is written in both
a professional and personal vein, letting you in on her life, her writing habits, her family, her growing need for more quiet, open
spaces, her love of animals, She lived a much more satisfying life than her dear friend and certainly a longer one.
I have already begun to loan this book out to mutual poets and poet loving friends.