Last year, when we had Galway Kinnell for a CPS reading, we had to turn people away at the door. This year for Maxine Kumin, we thought ahead, and instead of having the reading at Mocha Maya’s, they co-sponsored the event with us and we hosted it at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center, which has seating for 125 people. We filled every seat, but didn’t turn away a single soul.
What a reading! Sydney did his thing, but even he knew that Maxine was the Big Event everyone was waiting for, and didn’t read long.
Anyone who thinks Maxine Kumin is a boring nature poet has not been paying attention. She may be small and fragile-looking, but her political poems have spines of steel. There is nothing in this world more startling than hearing Maxine Kumin say the word “fuck”. Twice. And I happen to love her poems about her farm, and dogs, and horses. “Jack”, in particular, is so very affecting, who could dismiss it as a mere “nature poem”?
It was an honestly grand evening. Some folks traveled from pretty far afield to be there; I think we all agree it was more than worth it.