One for Life, One for Death”- Maxine Kumin
It is with much regret that we relay the Associated Press’s report that Maxine Kumin, Pulitzer Prize winner and onetime poetry consultant to the Library of Congress has died at the age of 88.
Born Maxine Winokur in Philadelphia, PA on June 6, 1925, Kumin was a committed writer and lover of nature who consistently supported the women writer population. She also worked tirelessly to advocate social justice and animal rights.
Among an immense catalog of poetry books, essays and novels, Kumin’s long list of accomplishments include winning the Harvard Medal, the Los Angeles Times Poetry Award and establishing a new poetry of master of fine arts program at New England College in Henniker, N.H.
Kumin was praised for her personal poems that did not smother the reader with an overly emotional outpour. Nicknamed “Roberta Frost,” she helped the reader visualize scenes of life–often in nature– with clear and vivid prose.
Kumin experienced a near-death experience in nature in 1998 resulting from a spooked horse incident, but she survived, sustaining a broken neck.
Maxine Kumin died peacefully at her home after a year of failing heath.
Hens have their gravel; gravel sticks
The way it should stick, in the craw.
And stone on stone is tooth
For grinding raw.
And grinding raw, I learn from this
To fill my crop the way I should.
I put down pudding stone
And find it good.
I find it good to line my gut
With tidy octagons of grit.
No loophole and no chink
Make vents in it.
And in it vents no slime or sludge;
No losses sluice, no terrors slough.
God, give me appetite
for stone enough.
-Maxine Kumin, 1961
Image via Wiki Commons