Maxine Kumin was born 6 June 1925 and died 6 February 2014
- We are, each of us, our own prisoner. We are locked up in our own story.
- I would not recommend poetry as a career. In the first place, it’s impossible in this time and place – in this culture – to make poetry a career. The writing of poetry is one thing. It’s an obsession, the scratching of a divine itch, and has nothing to do with money. You can, however, make a career out of being a poet by teaching, travelling around, and giving lectures. It’s a thin living at best.
- It is important to act as if bearing witness matters.
- To write about the monstrous sense of alienation the poet feels in this culture of polarised hatreds is a way of staying sane. With the poem, I reach out to an audience equally at odds with official policy, and I celebrate our mutual humanness in an inhuman world.
- I didn’t write my poems because I wanted to, they were wrung from me. I had to write them.
- My writing time needs to surround itself with empty stretches, or at least unpeopled ones, for the writing takes place in an area of suspension as in a hanging nest that is almost entirely encapsulated.
- Writing is my salvation. If I didn’t write, what would I do?
Maxine Kumin was an American poet and author. Her awards include the Pulitzer and Ruth Lilly Poetry Prizes, the Poets’ Prize, and the Harvard Arts and Robert Frost Medals. She was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1981–1982. Her memoir is The Pawnbroker’s Daughter.
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