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Poetry in Person: Maxine Kumin 
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Post Poetry in Person: Maxine Kumin
This thread is to discuss the first chapter: Maxine Kumin Nov. 14, 1973.



Mon Jun 07, 2010 5:51 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in Person: Maxine Kumin
"... you see, this is what I conceive the function of the poet to be. Not to moralize, not to polemicize, not to grieve, not to praise, and not to damn. But to name, to ell, to authenticate, to report what he sees and what he feels. I suppose if I have a credo that would be the credo that I have."

Compare that to Robert Hass' line in Meditation at Lagunitas, "a word is elegy to what it signifies." In other words, naming things destroys there essence, their actuality.

I like Kumin's position better.


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Sat Jun 12, 2010 11:03 am
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Post Re: Poetry in Person: Maxine Kumin
Thanks, Gary, for getting the ball rolling here.

GaryG48 wrote:
"... you see, this is what I conceive the function of the poet to be. Not to moralize, not to polemicize, not to grieve, not to praise, and not to damn. But to name, to ell, to authenticate, to report what he sees and what he feels. I suppose if I have a credo that would be the credo that I have."

Compare that to Robert Hass' line in Meditation at Lagunitas, "a word is elegy to what it signifies." In other words, naming things destroys there essence, their actuality.

I like Kumin's position better.


I also like Kumin's position and her poetry better too.



Sat Jun 12, 2010 2:57 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in Person: Maxine Kumin
What little bit of either I have read, I too like Kumin a lot better!


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Sat Jun 12, 2010 5:28 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in Person: Maxine Kumin
Oh heavens, yes. But I prefer Levine. And I think I would have liked the man as well. He doesn't mince words, and his poetry has a wonderful power, a force, a vibrancy to it. Uh, sorry. Ahead of myself here. Have we got a thread for Levine yet?


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Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:58 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in Person: Maxine Kumin
Forgive me for barging in. Reading the excerpt Gary included above reminded me of something Anton Chekhov said; I thought I'd share it:
Quote:
That the world 'swarms with male and female scum' is perfectly true. Human nature is imperfect. But to think that the task of literature is to gather the pure grain from the muck heap is to reject literature itself. Artistic literature is called so because it depicts life as it really is. Its aim is truth -- unconditional and honest. A writer is not a confectioner, not a dealer in cosmetics, not an entertainer; he is a man bound under compulsion, by the realization of his duty and by his conscience. To a chemist, nothing on earth is unclean. A writer must be as objective as a chemist.

It seems to me that the writer should not try to solve such questions as those of God, pessimism, etc. His business is but to describe those who have been speaking or thinking about God and pessimism, how and under what circumstances. The artist should be not the judge of his characters and their conversations, but only an unbiased observer.

You are right in demanding that an artist should take an intelligent attitude to his work, but you confuse two things: solving a problem and stating a problem. It is only the second that is obligatory for the artist.

(It's an excerpt from a letter he wrote; I stumbled upon it in "Reading Like a Writer" by Francine Prose.)


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The following user would like to thank MrBananagrabber for this post:
DWill, GaryG48
Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:30 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in Person: Maxine Kumin
You are hardly barging in. Saffron is the moderator here but I am sure she will agree you are most welcome.

This is a fascinating book that is really about how poets do the work of making poetry. Because it is a collections of transcripts from an academic seminar with guest poets discussing their methods of work, conducted over 25 years, we also get to see the poets in sort-of unguarded dialogues; some of them let a bit of truth about themselves leak through. That is part of the fun. There is more than a little hoisting on their own petards going on.

And for what is is worth, I think Chekhov got it right too. Adults should be able to form well thought-out opinions themselves, but it helps if someone asks the right questions.


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Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:15 pm
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Post Re: Poetry in Person: Maxine Kumin
Oh! Please do "barge" in! We're certainly glad to have you on board here!


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Gods and spirits are parasitic--Pascal Boyer

Religion is the only force in the world that lets a person have his prejudice or hatred and feel good about it --S C Hitchcock

Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it. --André Gide

Reading is a majority skill but a minority art. --Julian Barnes


Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:28 am
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