Decades before she won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Maxine Kumin was a student at Radcliffe College who had summoned the courage to show a handful of her poems to an instructor.
His comment couldn't have been more withering. "Say it with flowers," he wrote, "but for God's sake don't try to write poems."
Kumin heeded his advice. Seven years passed before she tried again, but this time her efforts brought far more encouraging results.
With a clear-eyed vision of the natural world, relationships, mortality and the inner lives of women, Kumin became one of the country's most honored