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Still to Mow: Poems by [Kumin, Maxine]
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Still to Mow: Poems Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 97 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Kumin's is a poetry of wide sympathy and tact... and a tart and compassionate irony." The New Yorker"

Product Details

  • File Size: 277 KB
  • Print Length: 97 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (February 2, 2009)
  • Publication Date: March 25, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #817,832 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some of her best work. Really strong local NH material.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wanted to give this collection a higher rating than a 3, but the middle section particularly and other politically polemical poems were not of the usual quality I expect of Maxine Kumin. Then again, you have such terribly poignant lines as:

"We try to live gracefully
and at peace with our imagined deaths but in truth we go forward
stumbling, afraid of the dark,
of the cold, and of the great overwhelming
loneliness of being last."

in describing a long marriage with both elderly and nearing their ends.

I recommend reading for the best of the poems. The more topical can be skipped or scanned.
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