Key West Literary Seminar
"SPIRIT OF PLACE: American Literary Landscapes"

January 10-13, 2002

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Panelist - Maxine Kumin

Maxine Kumin
Maxine Kumin

Photo by Rollie McKenna

MAXINE KUMIN was born in Germantown, Philadelphia, in 1925, attainted a BA and MA from Radcliffe before it was subsumed by Harvard, and now lives with her husband of 55 years in an old farmhouse in central New Hampshire. Here, their three children grown and gone, they have raised ten foals, a succession of dogs and cats, a few sheep, organic vegetables, and for several springs, tended a hundred sugar-maple tree taps. Both Kumins were avid horseback riders and competed in distance rides, carriage drives, and three-phase events. In July of 1998, Maxine had a near-fatal carriage driving accident, recorded in her memoir, Inside the Halo and Beyond: Anatomy of a Recovery. The farm, a craggy, heavily forested 200-acre spread, most of which is now in conservation, is the locus of many of her poems and essays. Clearing pastures, building fences, exploring the overgrown trails that wind through the Min Hills, foraging for wild mushrooms, and weeding the beach that fronts on their pond are the physical tasks that free her mind to construct its own paths. "Allegiance to the land is tenderness," she says in one poem.

Kumin is the author of 13 books of poems, five novels, a collection of short stories, four essay collections, and a number of children's books. She has received the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the Aiken Taylor Prize, the Poets' Prize, and the Ruth E. Lilly Award. She served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress before that post was renamed Poet Laureate of the United States, has taught at Princeton, Columbia, Brandeis and Washington universities and given readings or conducted writers' workshops in every state in the Union, save Hawaii and North Dakota. Together with Carolyn Kizer, she first served on and then resigned from the board of chancellors of the Academy of American Poets, an act that galvanized the movement for opening this august body to broader representation by women and minorities.

Bibliography:

Poetry:
The Long Marriage, W.W. Norton Co., 2001
Selected Poems 1960 - 1990, W. W. Norton Co., 1997
Connecting the Dots, W. W. Norton Co., 1996
Looking for Luck, W. W. Norton Co., 1992
Nurture, Viking, 1989
The Long Approach, 1985
Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief, New and Selected Poems, Viking, 1982
The Retrieval System, Viking, 1978
House, Bridge, Fountain, Gate, Viking, 1975
Up Country, Harper & Row, 1970
The Nightmare Factory, Harper & Row, 1970
The Privilege, Harper & Row, 1965
Halfway, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1961

Fiction:
Quit Monks Or Die (mystery), Story Line Press, 1999
Why Can't We Live Together Like Civilized Human Beings (short stories), Viking, 1982
The Designated Heir, Viking, 1974
The Abduction, Harper & Row, 1971
The Passions of Uxport, Harper & Row, 1968
Through Dooms of Love, Harper & Row, 1965

Essays:
Always Beginning: Essays on a Life in Poetry, Copper Canyon Press, 2000
Inside the Halo and the Journey Beyond, W. W. Norton Co., 1999
Women, Animals, and Vegetables: Essays and Stories, Norton, 1994
In Deep: Country Essays, Viking, 1987
To Make A Prairie: Essays on Poets, Poetry and Country Living, University of Michigan Press, 1980

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