Maxine Kumin, 1975
POETRY MISCELLANY: The world portrayed by your new book seems more populated, its imagery more diverse, used more to counterpoint ironically some of the statements the poems make. Are you conscious of such a shift?
MAXINE KUMIN: Not really. I'm conscious that there is a continuing shift in voice, but it seems to me that it arises directly from the earlier book, that what had begun in Up Country simply gets continued in House, Bridge, Fountain, Gate. My intention is always the same, to be specific, clear about the naming quality of things. The focus, though, is continually narrowing. The more narrowed the focus becomes, then perhaps the more sharpened and ironic the language becomes. I think any shift is toward being more natural so that everything I write comes out of the world I am close to, out of the manure pile, out of the garden. That's the texture of the world I'm living in.
POETRY MISCELLANY: Your sequence, "The Kentucky Poems," presents a kind of self-definition, a focusing of yourself in a particular world.
MAXINE KUMIN: One reviewer, though she liked House, Bridge, Fountain, Gate overall, thought that this section was meretricious, that it focused on old themes, my sense of estrangement as a Jew. I was taken back by the comment because I thought she totally missed the point of the poems. She was saying that the subject was something I wrote less well about than the natural world, perhaps more so than the other sections. What I like about