Maxine Kumin 1925–2014: A Life in Poetry

Dt.common.streams.StreamServerEleanor Wilner at Hudson Review:

Hers was the world of presence, of the actual: she spoke always in the language of the body; the choice of words is a diction decidedly Anglo-Saxon—the Germanic-descended language of peasants and pig farmers in England, not the Latin of Church and university, or the Romance-language French of the court. The Latinate words in English, more elevated, more distanced from the sweat of bodily life, are seldom found in her poems, whose diction, over time, grew ever more plain. “My work,” she said in an interview when she was in her 80s, “has gotten bonier over the last ten years. I’ve always had a narrative thread, but my poems are tougher, more focused . . . they use fewer adjectives. The poet’s investment in the material is what makes a poem memorable.”

Max always lived actively in her body—a competition swimmer and water ballet adept in her youth, swimming remained a constant of her life, as did riding the horses she rescued and bred; both activities make the body a part of another, larger body—of water, of the horse—and both, like writing, require discipline, form, pacing and endurance. Body and mind were so conjoined in her that her life on the farm always provided imaginative fodder: the metaphors for her inner life, dreams and musings. She was impatient of abstractions, and forbade them to her students.

more here.