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. By 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 with kindness’ one bullet and paid Jake Mott to do the butchering.”  “Waiting for the End in New Smyrna Beach, Florida”, Maxine Kumin notices in her venture in Florida a homeless couple with a baby. In her poem she describes the couple watching the passing cars at Lytle and South Dixie to an “egret grazing the canals who darts and pecks and lunges and after an eternity at Lytle and South Dixie the light changes.” In her last poem written in the booklet, “Getting Through”, she describes different types of snow.

When she writes, “No mail today. No newspapers. The Phone’s dead. Bomb’s and grenades, the newly disappeared, a kidnapped ear, go unrecorded but the foals flutter inside warm wet bags that carry those eleven months in the dark.” This shows her life’s simplicity versus the complexity of society.  The poems written by Maxine Kumin all use detailed information about the specifics of farm life, including typical animal actions, and movements, and plants common to the New Hampshire area. These poems give her audience a glimpse into her life; her dreams, travel, and urban experiences.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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