Maxine Kumin

(b. 1925)

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born in Philadelphia, where her father was the city's major pawnbroker, was educated at Radcliffe (A.B., 1946; M.A., 1948). Her first novel, Through Dooms of Love (1965), titled with a line from Cummings, dealing with the conflict between a radical Radcliffe girl and her pawnbroker father, was followed by The Passions of Uxport (1968), with a setting like that of Updike's Couples, which presents stormy married life in a Boston suburb. The Abduction (1971) and The Designated Heir (1974), portrayals of different kinds of women, are later novels. Stories are collected in Why Can't We Live Together Like Civilized Human Beings? (1982). Her poetry, collected in Halfway (1961), The Privilege (1965), The Nightmare Factory (1970), Up Country: Poems of New England (1972, Pulitzer Prize), House, Bridge, Fountain, Gate (1975), The Retrieval System (1978), and Our Ground Time Here Will Be Brief (1982), is described by Philip Booth as memorial rather than confessional,” possessing a resonant language, an autobiographical immediacy, unsystematized intelligence, and radical compassion,” and she herself sees all her writing as private experience giving rise to elegy and celebration.” Her essays are collected in To Make a Prairie (1979), and she has written many children's books, two with Anne Sexton.

Subjects: Literature.

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