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New Hampshire Poet Showcase
From NH Poet Laureate, Pat Fargnoli

At my request, The NH Arts Council is providing me with a link to the poet laureate page on their website in order that I may showcase poems by a number of New Hampshire Poets. The poets will be by my invitation only, but I plan to include both the famous and the less famous ....those who are seriously working at poetry craft from many areas of the state. A different poet and poem will be presented every 2 weeks.

Featured Poet: Maxine Kumin, Warner

Maxine KuminThis week’s feature poet, Maxine Kumin of Warner, a past New Hampshire Poet Laureate, has published 15 books of poetry, and numerous novels, essays, short stories, children's books, etc. She's won many major poetry awards including (among others) the Pulitzer Prize, an Academy Arts and Letters Award, the Harvard Arts Medal in 2005, and, most recently, the prestigious Robert Frost Medal from the Poetry Society of America. She's served as a Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and is a former Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.

Of “New Hampshire, February 7, 2003”, Kumin writes:

I came to write NH, Feb 7, 2003 out of anguish and fury; it was clear that we were going to invade Iraq, that we had learned nothing from our disaster in Viet Nam. And day by day I feel ever more strongly that as poets we have an obligation to society to speak out, to bear witness to the events around us. This poem led me to write the nine torture poems that followed and that will stand as a separate unit in my not–quite–finished manuscript, STILL TO MOW.

New Hampshire, February 7 2003

It’s snowing again.
All day, reruns
of the blizzard of ’78
newscasters vying
for bragging rights
how it was to go hungry
after they’d thumped
the vending machines empty
the weatherman clomping
four miles on snowshoes
to get to his mike
so he could explain
how three lows
could collide to create
a lineup of isobars
footage of state troopers
peering into the caked
windows of cars
backed up for white
miles on the interstate.

No reruns today
of the bombings in Vietnam
2 million civilians blown
apart, most of them children
under 16, children
always the least
able to dive
for cover when
all that tonnage bursts from a blind sky.
Snow here is
weighting the pine trees
while we wait for the worst:
for war to begin.
Schools closed, how
the children
love a benign blizzard
a downhill scrimmage
of tubes and sleds. But who
remembers the blizzard
that burst on those other children?
Back then we called it
collateral damage
And will again.

For more information on Maxine Kumin...


Click here for a list of previous Poet Showcases

Last updated: September 19, 2007

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