Maxine Kumin


Quotations

  • ''Until the Women's Movement, it was commonplace to be told by an editor that he'd like to publish more of my poems, but he'd already published one by a woman that month ... this attitude was the rule rather than the exception, until the mid-sixties. Highest compliment was to be told, "You write like a man."''
    Maxine Kumin (b. 1925), U.S. poet. As quoted in A Gift That Cannot be Refused, ch. 2, by Mary Biggs (1990). Written in 1983 on a survey questionnaire.
    12 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • ''Women are not supposed to have uteruses, especially in poems.''
    Maxine Kumin (b. 1925), U.S. poet and feminist. As quoted in Women's Studies, p. 135 (1976). On the restrictions on poetry's subject matter due to male editors' dismissal of peculiarly "female" topics.
  • ''With a broad shoehorn
    I am unstuffing a big bird in this dream
    Msomebody else's holiday feast—
    and repacking the crop of my own,
    knowing it will burst with such
    onion, oyster, savory bread crust.''
    Maxine Kumin (b. 1925), U.S. poet. "In the Uneasy Sleep of the Translator," lines 1-6 (1975).
  • ''Poetry
    makes nothing happen.
    It survives
    in the valley of its saying.''
    Maxine Kumin (b. 1925), U.S. poet. "Lines Written in the Library of Congress After the Cleanth Brooks Lecture," lines 224-227. "Poetry/makes nothing happen" are, as Kumin acknowledged, lines borrowed from W. H. Auden's (1907-1973) poem, "In Memory of W. B. Yeats."
  • ''In the county there are thirty-seven churches
    and no butcher shop. This could be taken
    as a matter of all form and no content.''
    Maxine Kumin (b. 1925), U.S. Jewish poet. "Living Alone with Jesus," lines 10-12 (1975). Written while living in Danville, Kentucky.

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The Hermit Goes Up Attic

Up attic, Lucas Harrison, God rest
his frugal bones, once kept a tidy account
by knifecut of some long-gone harvest.
The wood was new. The pitch ran down to blunt
the year: 1811, the score: 10, he carved
into the center rafter to represent
his loves, beatings, losses, hours, or maybe
the butternuts that taxed his back and starved
the red squirrels higher up each scabbed tree.

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