cover image In Deep

In Deep

Maxine Kumin. Viking Books, $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-670-81431-2

Living on the land and working with animals has provided inspiration and a special sense of place for Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Kumin. On their New Hampshire hill farm, she and her husband have cleared woodland for pasture, tended livestock, made maple syrup from their own trees. Kumin takes us into the woods for a spring mushroom hunt, tells about raising an orphan foal and explains how humans get involved with horses. There is an appreciative essay on the mule (and that beast's metaphorical connection with poets), another on Highland cattle. Seeing friends depart for a canoe trip evokes a comparison with Thoreau's journey to the Maine woods. Kumin also discusses her poetry and provides the story behind two specific poems. Her country essays are captivating; horse lovers and readers who appreciate Annie Dillard's meditations on nature will enjoy every word. (June 10)