Homme de Plume: Men in Print

“So even though I bet you think this song is about literary sexism, it isn’t. It’s about feeling trapped between two sickening options: either the system’s stacked against me because I’m a woman, or only a third of us write as well as men (and I’m not one of them).”

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Hiding from the Beatles?

In “Now I Need a Place to Hide Away,” Ann Hood writes,

It is difficult to hide from the Beatles. After all these years they are still regularly in the news. Their songs play on oldies stations, countdowns and best-ofs. There is always some Beatles anniversary: the first No. 1 song, the first time in the United States, a birthday, an anniversary, a milestone, a Broadway show.

But hide from the Beatles I must. Or, in some cases, escape. One day in the grocery store, when “Eight Days a Week” came on, I had to leave my cartful of food and run out. Stepping into an elevator that’s blasting a peppy Muzak version of “Hey Jude” is enough to send me home to bed.

Of course it wasn’t always this way.

Read her “Modern Love” essay from the February 26, 2006 New York Times Magazine.

Living Life to the Max

MAXINE KUMIN, 1925-2014

Seven Poets Laureate in Washington: Mark Strand, Charles Simic, Kay Ryan, Maxine Kumin, Daniel Hoffman, Rita Dove, Billy Collins

Seven Poets Laureate in Washington, Oct. 2010: Mark Strand, Charles Simic,         Kay Ryan, Maxine Kumin, Daniel Hoffman, Rita Dove, Billy Collins

Maxine Kumin relished her role as the first politically active female Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, the position now known as Poet Laureate.  She was the last laureate to move to Washington, yet she was there only one year; her outspokenness and political activism were probably the reason she was not asked by then Librarian of Congress, Daniel J. Boorstin, to stay for a second year as is the custom.  Equestrian, gardener, scholar, professor, critic, novelist, essayist, memoirist, author of children’s books, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, and activist for women writers, human and political justice and animal rights, Maxine boldly jumped the fences built around women and showed us what a woman untethered can do. Married to chemist and engineer Victor Kumin, who helped invent the Atomic Bomb (and who later refused to continue his work after the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki) for nearly 68 years and the mother of three, Maxine proved with the fiery determination with which she lived her life that, yes, a woman can have it all.

More on MAXINE KUMIN’s year in Washington.