Women like me do not fall gracefully,
we stumble over our spines, trip over
our vowels, and collapse into your arms.

Our hearts are open books,
Russian novels containing fifty pages
on the way your voice drifts across
the telephone wires each night.
Our hearts are first drafts,
unedited verses about each and every
person we have ever loved: the stranger
on the subway, the girl who gave us a balloon,
the boy who stole our virginity
but not our heart.

Women like me will love you from a distance
of a thousand syllables while laying in your bed,
we will destroy you in the most beautiful way possible,
and when we leave you will finally understand
why storms are named after people.

theparisreview:

“I so resented being told by male poets, ‘You’re a good poet. You write like a man.’ When you drove them to the airport to catch that flight at the last minute: ‘You did a good job. You drove like a man.’ It was such a different world. The expectations were so different … I was not influenced by women writing poetry. There weren’t any women to admire. I could admire Marianne Moore, but I certainly couldn’t write miniaturist poems like her. And I admired Elizabeth Bishop, but she was very classical and held everyone at a distance. Mentor was not a verb at that time. I certainly wasn’t being mentored by anybody.”
Remembering Maxine Kumin.
Kumin, with friend Anne Sexton.

theparisreview:

“I so resented being told by male poets, ‘You’re a good poet. You write like a man.’ When you drove them to the airport to catch that flight at the last minute: ‘You did a good job. You drove like a man.’ It was such a different world. The expectations were so different … I was not influenced by women writing poetry. There weren’t any women to admire. I could admire Marianne Moore, but I certainly couldn’t write miniaturist poems like her. And I admired Elizabeth Bishop, but she was very classical and held everyone at a distance. Mentor was not a verb at that time. I certainly wasn’t being mentored by anybody.”

Remembering Maxine Kumin.

Kumin, with friend Anne Sexton.