Maxine Kumin

Maxine Kumin explored her position as a Jewish woman in the larger Christian culture through her highly acclaimed poetry, and fought to ensure equal representation for minorities in the Academy of American Poets. Kumin’s first book of poetry, Halfway, was published in 1961, and in 1973 she won the Pulitzer Prize for Up Country: Poems of New England. In her poetry, novels, and essays, she examined themes of nature and the seasonal rhythms of country life, her relationship with her family, and her position as a Jew in a Christian culture. She taught poetry in a variety of settings, including Tufts, Columbia, Brandeis, and Princeton Universities, and served as a consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress. In 1996, she was elected chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, but resigned from the organization in 1998 to protest the absence of minorities from the board of chancellors. That year, a fall from a horse carriage left Kumin severely injured and confined to a “halo,” that stabilized her head and spinal column, and she wrote a moving account of her recovery called Inside the Halo and Beyond.

Topics: Teachers, Poetry

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Maxine Kumin on her farm in 2009.

Courtesy of Susannah Colt.

Date of Birth

Germantown, PA
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Maxine Kumin." (Viewed on October 20, 2020) <>.


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