Maxine Kumin's poems

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Maxine Kumin

Maxine Kumin, who experienced many different views of the world

through travel, feels the most comfortable in New Hampshire, her rural home.

In any area that she travels, she always makes a similarity to her home, as

expressed in her poems.

In her poem, "The Long Approach", she is driving in her Saab

hatchback from Scranton to her farm in New Hampshire. She also discusses

her plane ride back from Orlando to New Hampshire the week before.

Throughout the poem she makes references back to the animals she cares for

and comes in contact with on the farm. Her knowledge of rural life is shown,

by describing details of animals; such as, "eel-thin belly", "life as loose as

frogs", "slag heaps stand like sentries shot dead", and "I'm going home with

the light hand on the reins".

Next in her poem, "How It is", she puts on a blue jacket that belonged

to her recently deceased friend, whom played a major role in her life.


putting on the jacket, she tries to relive the past by, "...unwind(ing) it, paste it

together in a different collage...". In this poem, Maxine Kumin, uses plants to

describe her feelings, as in; "scatter like milkweed" and "pods of the soul".

These similes show what she sees and feels.

"The Longing to be Saved", is a dream, where her barn catches fire.

"In and out of dreams as thin as acetate." She visualizes herself getting the

horses out, but they "wrench free, wheel, dash back".

In, "Family Reunion", she writes that "nothing is cost efficient here".

Vegetables are grown on the farm, and animals are raised to be killed. "The

electric fence ticks like the slow heart of something we fed and bedded for a

year, then killed...