On September 28, 2023, Vermont independent publisher, Green Writers Press, will launch former Governor Madeleine Kunin’s second poetry collection, Walk With Me.
Poems as tenderly honest and brilliant as the poet herself.
In this collection, the well-versed poet and three-term Vermont governor invites the audience to step into her world, to slow down, and find new serenity in older age and unexpected love. Kunin explores the nuances of everyday moments that cultivate a bittersweet appreciation for simple joys. Walk With Me is a beautifully crafted illustration of not only what it means to be a woman on the eve of ninety years of life, but a feminist, a politician, a mother, a lover, a companion, and a living thing in the midst of an ever-turbulent world. The relationship with the self is a lifelong evolution, a journey that Kunin refuses to tire. Instead, her poems illuminate the confidence and insecurities inherent to all humans, even in older age. The images woven throughout this collection are tender and warm, giving the reader an outlet to appreciate what it means to be alive through each stanza, over and over again.
In her first collection Red Kite, Blue Sky (GWP 2021), Kunin established herself as a poet in her own right. The poems in Walk With Me were written in the last few years. True to the poet’s observations in her first collection, the new poems are beautiful, stirring, and often playful tributes to life itself. The important insights—from being an immigrant to losing a spouse, and growing old—will resonate with readers.
When asked to describe this new book of poems, to be published on the eve of Madeleine’s ninetieth birthday, editor and publisher, Dede Cummings, asked the poet for some words:
As I age I become more poetic. I write about my observations of nature, my thoughts, and my body. I am acutely aware of change, which seems to happen every day, in small steps, but quickly. The sound of a loon on a hidden lake haunts me. A new friendship surprises me and gives me pleasure. Yes, there are down times, but I manage to spring back. Resilience is what I treasure.
It seems to work.
Praise for the poetry of Madeleine May Kunin
Madeleine Kunin trades politics for the poetry of change
“In her lifetime, Madeleine Kunin can boast of being Vermont’s first and so far only female governor, deputy U.S. education secretary, ambassador to her native Switzerland, and now, with the release of a debut anthology, published poet. Age 88 this year, she confirms in her new book, Red Kite, Blue Sky, which Harvard Review poetry editor Major Jackson calls ‘radiant,’ ‘startling’ and “spectacularly fresh and tender.’”
—Kevin O’Connor, journalist for VTDIGGER — Read the full review
“Kunin’s poems are just as tenacious as their author, and filled with humor and tenderness that make them a gift to read. The poet demonstrates that it’s never too late to do what you love — and that there just might be a poet inside all of us.”
—Benjamin Aleshire, book reviewer for SevenDays — “Poetician” Read the full review
“In her first book of poetry, Madeline Kunin writes effortlessly about moments, memories, and events that she then transforms into immense particulars, whether they be a cat scratch, a headache, or a secret joke. Her musings resonate with pathos, wit, and perspicacity, crossing generously over from her speaker to her reader with spare accuracy and refreshing honesty. In her poem ‘Understanding Beethoven,’ Kunin declares: ‘So many layers to dig through with my rusty spade/ before I find what I want./ I want details.’ Red Kite, Blue Sky is replete with details she ‘wants’ and although they are uniquely hers, she has found an artful, selfless way of bequeathing them to her reader.”
—Chard deNiord, former Poet Laureate of Vermont (2015-2019)
“Following her long and accomplished career as a public servant and activist, Madeleine Kunin has turned inward in this collection of powerful poems. The elation of late-life love mixes with the sadness of its loss. A busy outward schedule is suddenly stilled by lockdown. But a profound new focus emerges from this solitude as Kunin begins to observe in minute detail the sky, a tree, the antics of a cat, her own aging body. Red Kite, Blue Sky is a beautiful, stirring, and often playful tribute to life itself. Its important insights, some delivered with a humorous twist, will resonate with me for a long time.”
—Lisa Alther, NYTimes bestselling author of Kinflicks, among others
Advance Praise for Walk With Me
“An enthralling light emanates from the center of her poetry that reveals a life lived fully in love, laughter, joy, and sorrows overcome. Madeleine Kunin carries and divines her lineage and history with the kind of insight that is spectacularly fresh and tender. A hardwired sense of beauty throbs throughout the poems.”
—Major Jackson, author of Roll Deep, The Absurd Man, among others, and host of “The Slowdown”
Reviews & Media
“. . . a poetry collection in which she illuminates her past and present in a surprisingly honest yet hopeful light.” —Kevin O’Connor, Vermont Digger (link to full article)
About the Author
Madeleine May Kunin, the first woman to be elected governor of Vermont (three terms), was also the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and U.S. deputy secretary of education. She has written four previous books and two books of poetry: Living a Political Life (Knopf), The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family (New York TimesEditor’s Choice), Pearls Politics and Power, and Coming of Age: My Journey to the Eighties (GWP). Madeleine’s first poetry collection, Red Kite, Blue Sky, was a finalist for the New England Book Award for Poetry in 2022. She is currently James Marsh Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont, where she gives guest lectures on feminism, and women and politics. She also served on the board of the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), a nongovernmental organization that she founded in 1991, and she launched Emerge Vermont to encourage and support women in politics. She lives in Shelburne, Vermont.
About the Cover Artist: Emily Mason (1932-2019) “Equal Paradise, 1966,” oil on canvas; 48 x 42 inches (121.9 x 106.7 cm)
Born and raised in New York City, Emily Mason’s art education began at home with her mother Alice Trumbull Mason, a founding member of the American Abstract Artists. A graduate of New York City’s High School of Music and Art, she attended Bennington College and Cooper Union. In 1956 she was awarded a two-year Fulbright grant to paint in Venice, Italy. There, she studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti where she first experimented with blotting and transferring paint onto the surface of the canvas. During her time in Venice, she married the painter Wolf Kahn; they have two daughters, Cecily and Melany. Since her first solo show in 1960 at the Area Gallery, Mason has exhibited regularly in New York City. She taught painting at CUNY Hunter College for more than 25 years, mentoring generations of artists. Her work is included in numerous public and private collections.
126 pages; Softcover
Trim Size: 5.5 x 8.5
Price: $16.95 US / $23.07 CA
Publication Date: September 28, 2023
Distributor: IPG/Chicago, Ingram.
Rights sold: All rights available.
Rights & PR: Dede Cummings, email@example.com
Keywords: Nature, Poetry, Aging, Grief, COVID-19, Jewish, Racism, Vermont
Distributor: IPG; also available through Follett/Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and other wholesalers.
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