Maxine Kumin: Prolific Poet, Feisty Feminist
Maxine Kumin (1925–2014) seems to be little known today, but she won major awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and many honorary degrees. Kumin served as poetry consultant to the Library of Congress (a position now known as Poet Laureate) from 1981–1982. She wrote fiction, essays, and children’s books as well as publishing numerous collections of poetry. She was deeply concerned about the state of the world—by which I mean human disruption of natural processes as well as injustice, inequality, and violence. She recognized the ways in which she and other women were marginalized by literary gatekeepers, as well as the ways in which she, as a white woman, enjoyed privileges not available to all. I wrote a longer biography of Kumin that you can read here on the Literary Ladies Guide site. I hope it leads you to seek out some of her poetry and essays.