Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Always Beginning: Essays on a Life in Poetry” as Want to Read:
Always Beginning: Essays on a Life in Poetry
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Always Beginning: Essays on a Life in Poetry

4.42  ·  Rating Details ·  19 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Poetics. In her essays, as with her Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry, Mazine Kumin speaks to "the encounter": with poetry, poets, and the details of country life. In clear, direct prose she is equally at ease musing over her garden or discussing poetic form, raising horses or critiquing the work of other poets. For Kumin, poetry is inseperable from daily life. "The prose is h ...more
Paperback, 237 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Copper Canyon Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Always Beginning, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Always Beginning

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-46)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 08, 2014 Rick rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
When Maxine Kumin died earlier in February at the age of 88, I pulled two books of her prose off my shelves, one I thought I’d read and the other I knew I had not. I’m not sure why I turned to prose for such a well-regarded poet but I did. In any case, I thought I’d browse through one and then read the other. Always Beginning, the one I had thought I read was published in 2000 and it was nestled in my read poetry section. Quickly I realized that the book has been misfiled. I didn’t recognize the ...more
Mar 31, 2010 Jean rated it really liked it
I came to this memoir, or maybe more properly “mostly thoughts on how I write poetry book” curious because I knew Maxine Kumin was a good friend of Anne Sexton and also not far removed from Carolyn Heilbrun, Jane Kenyon, and May Sarton. Plus, she is a swimmer and a horse lover. If you’re not a fan of these authors and you don’t care for things like epiphanies round the birth of a foal, you may not like this book as much as I did. I did like it, and found it loaded with pithy wisdom. If you’re an ...more
May 31, 2007 Joanna rated it liked it
Recommends it for: formalists or aspiring formalists, those interested in poetry and/or influential contemporary poets
A collection of odds and ends, compiled in a book. Kumin's essays on the intersections between poetry and life are interesting and instructive. She discusses at some length her friendship with Anne Sexton, and the post-WWII acceptance of female poets into the poetry establishment, at which she and Sexton were the helm. What I found most helpful, as a dabbler in poetry myself, was her discussion of and insistance on formal poetics: rhyme, meter, rhythm, etc.
Dec 11, 2016 Shaindel rated it it was amazing
I love these essays on life and poetics by Maxine Kumin. Some of the best essays were prefaced by a poem and then dealt with how Kumin wrote the poem, what inspired it, or what she would have changed in the poem if she had written it as a more mature poet. There are also keynote addresses that she delivered for various occasions, and a lengthy personal interview. Just a great book with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration!
Ron Mohring
Nov 06, 2008 Ron Mohring rated it really liked it
Part memoir, part interviews, part essays on poetics and on the writings of others, this is a fine, intelligent collection from a writer whose steady and sustained focus can't be overestimated, in my opinion.
Jenni rated it liked it
Jul 27, 2007
Joshi Radin
Joshi Radin rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2008
Lacie rated it really liked it
Sep 03, 2008
Sarah rated it it was amazing
Mar 09, 2009
Meliss rated it it was amazing
Aug 08, 2014
Dsg rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2010
K.T. rated it really liked it
Jul 27, 2014
Marina Sofia
Marina Sofia rated it really liked it
Jan 17, 2013
Loved this collection of Kumin essays.
Mark rated it it was amazing
Apr 05, 2009
Nicole rated it it was amazing
Jan 24, 2008
Monster rated it it was amazing
May 24, 2011
Mary Louise
Mary Louise rated it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2008
Deborah San Gabriel
Deborah San Gabriel rated it it was amazing
May 01, 2014
Ellie O'Leary
Ellie O'Leary rated it it was amazing
May 25, 2016
Rebekah marked it as to-read
Jul 24, 2007
Chuck Denison
Chuck Denison marked it as to-read
Jul 25, 2007
Marian marked it as to-read
May 21, 2008
Elitza marked it as to-read
Nov 26, 2008
R.H. added it
Jan 16, 2009
F. Rzicznek
F. Rzicznek marked it as to-read
Apr 07, 2009
Stef marked it as to-read
May 03, 2009
Ching-In marked it as to-read
Dec 30, 2009
Ella added it
Feb 02, 2010
abcdefg marked it as to-read
Oct 28, 2010
Marianna marked it as to-read
Sep 06, 2011
Jess marked it as to-read
Apr 04, 2012
Rory marked it as to-read
Aug 07, 2012
Doni marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2015
Lauren marked it as to-read
May 22, 2013
Simone marked it as to-read
Jun 06, 2013
Stephni marked it as to-read
Jul 03, 2013
Gina R. Evers
Gina R. Evers is currently reading it
Mar 19, 2014
Paul marked it as to-read
Aug 01, 2014
Shawna marked it as to-read
Aug 13, 2014
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Maxine Kumin's 17th poetry collection, published in the spring of 2010, is Where I Live: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010. Her awards include the Pulitzer and Ruth Lilly Poetry Prizes, the Poets’ Prize, and the Harvard Arts and Robert Frost Medals. A former US poet laureate, she and her husband lived on a farm in New Hampshire. Maxine Kumin passed away in 2014.
More about Maxine Kumin...

Share This Book