Cheltenham High School Hall of Fame

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Maxine Winokur Kumin

class of 1942
inducted in 1981

Maxine Winokur Kumin

Poet & Novelist
Winner of the 1973 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry

A 1942 CHS graduate, Kumin always wanted to be a free-lance writer. While at CHS she was editor of the school paper and contributed articles for the school's magazine. After her graduation from Radcliffe College, she pursued her ambition, turning out children's books, novels and volumes of poetry. She was recently named consultant in poetry at the Library of Congress, the fifth woman to fill this position since the post was created in 1936. She assumed her duties this month.

Kumin's awards and grants are numerous, including, among others:

American Academy & Institute of Arts and Letters Award, 1980
Radcliffe College Alumnae Recognition award, 1978
first prize, Borestone Mountain Award, Best Poems of 1976
Poetry Magazine's annual Eunice Tietjens Memorial Prize, 1972
She has held various positions, some of which include:

Visiting Lecturer, Princeton University, spring 1979
Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, 1979-80
Bell Visiting Scholar, Randolph-Macon Woman's College, February 1978
Adjunct Professor of Writing, Columbia University, spring 1975
Hurst Professor of Literature, Brandeis University, fall 1975
Kumin's perennially popular poetic works include: The Retrieval System (1978) and House, Bridge, Fountain, Gate (1975). Her novels include The Designated Heir (1974), The Abduction (1971), and The Passions of Uxport (1968). Her book Up Country won the 1973 Pulitzer prize for poetry. The book is about nature and the creatures that inhabit the countryside around the farmhouse in Warner, N.H., where she now lives.

Kumin and her husband Victor have three children, two daughters and a son. She lives on a 200-acre farm along with two dalmatians, several horses, and some Scotch Highland heifers.