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January 23, 1990 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-23

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ARTS
Tuesday, January 23, 1990

The Michigan Daily

Ilk

Kumin nurtures
maternal longings

Himmelman

Page 7
to give free show

BY CAROLYN PAJOR

IT is altogether proper and fitting that poet Maxine Kumin lives in
ew Hampshire where she raises horses and tends to a vegetable garden
and sugar bush. She is sensitively - even woefully - cognizant of
nature, calling it "a catchment of sorrows." In her latest collection of
poems, Nurture, Kumin conducts a dirge for extinct or endangered
species such as the manatee, arctic foxes, and the trumpeter swan, though
she is not lugubrious as she says of the manatee: "Let's revert to the
Catch of the Day/ and serve up the last few as steak marinara/ Let's stop
pretending we need them/ more than they need us."
While the New Hampshire landscape does indeed stir her
conservationalist longings, Kumin says, "I would write poetry wherever I
lived." Similarly, she says she is able to write in different settings and
that she does a lot of writing "in strangely suspended places, such as
airports," where she has learned to accept "the wonderful anonymity that
travel gives you."
Kumin says she grew up writing poems although she did not take
herself seriously until she was 30. Having written over eight collections
of poetry, she primarily sees herself as a poet, although she has written
numerous novels, short stories and essays. Her poetic absorption in
human relationships and the family - her self-proclaimed "tribal poems"
- give her puissant insight regarding the incessant shuffling and
tempering of these relationships. In "Family Reunion," from Closing the
Ring, she notes of her grown children:
Wearing our gestures, how wise you grow,
ballooning to overfill our space,.
the almost-parents of your parents now.
So briefly having you back to measure us
is harder than having let you go.
Kumin's critics harp on her seemingly excessive maternal instincts;
she counters this by saying that, in general, male critics hold this area
under siege. Taking a line from Nurture, she says, "I am not sorry I have
an 'overabundance of maternal genes."' This poet, who the New York
Times has dubbed "tough-minded, succinct, compassionate: mother-
protector" indeed is quite content where she is.
Kumin will be reading today at the Underclass Hopwood Awards
Program. This prestigious award is given to the best creative work in the
fields of fiction, poetry and essay for undergraduate and graduate students
at the University. Avery Hopwood, prominent American dramatist
See KUMIN, page 8

BY MICHAEL PAUL FISCHER
FOR a guy whose placid surname
(in Yiddish) means "man from
heaven," Peter Himmelman is a de-
cidedly emotional artist. On Synes-
thesia, the Minneapolis rocker's
third and latest release for Island, 12
songs run the gamut of feelings
from loneliness ("245 Days") to tri-
umph ("The Sweetest Revenge") and
a few more obscure states in between
and outside: the title track, in fact,
refers to a phenomenon of sensory
reversal in which one hears colors
and sees sounds.
Combining hollow, aquatic-
sounding percussion and herky-jerky
guitar splashes on a broad Peter
Gabriel-style canvas, "Synesthesia"
achieves a disconcerting effect which
sounds rather unlike anything you've
previously heard - or will hear -
until tonight, when Himmelman fol-
lows on the heels of Canadian pro-
ducer/singer Daniel Lanois by play-
ing a free gig at the Ark. But unlike
artists such as Kate Bush, who con-
jurentheseustates by twisting instru-
mental sounds into unusual pop ar-
rangements, Himmelman's way of
matching emotion with sounds is
usually a bit more conventional.
Moving handily from the smooth,
pulsing R&B of "Second Chance" to
churning, Tom Petty-like rock'n'roll
("The Sweetest Revenge") and the
sly, quirky pop of "Babylon" -'
which uncannily recalls New
Zealand's Crowded House, particu-
larly the voice of singer Neil Finn
- Himmelman's band steps effort-
lessly into a number of distinct pop
styles.
And within Synesthesia's shift-

Peter Himmelman has gained a certain notoreity due to his touring habits, since he will not perform on Friday
nights due to his religious beliefs. Tuesdays are fine, though - and in this case, free.
ing emotional catalogue, Himmel- Himmelman's really ecelctic back- But Himmelman's first widespre

eai

man's musical eclecticism comes
across, for once, as more than just a
facile attempt to sound intereresting.
On "I Wouldn't Mind," for instance,
Himmelman's subjunctive traveling
gets a neat kick from the group's
chugging one-two shuffle and
trucker-ready southern guitar boogie.
Next to the obtuse, experimental "A
Million Sides," such a wild streak
seems possible only in light of

C ~SIFIED

ADS

HELP WANTED
STUDENTS--ARE YOU LOOKING FOR
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ROOMMATES
1 RM 2 BDRM APT NOW THRU APR.
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ground.
Previously a member of the
Sussman Lawrence group, Him-
melman actually got his start play-
ing alto saxophone with the Min-
nesota Youth Quartet in the early
'70s. Later, he worked with Twin
Cities R&B singer Alexander O'Neal
and the Trindadian calypso outfit
Shangoya, while maintaining his
study of Jewish law and mysticism.
PERSONAL
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ATTN. ASPIRING JOURNALISTS! Inter-
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Get psychedI
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MISCELLANEOUS
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attention came with a video,
"Eleventh Confession," which fea-
tured him alone in Midwestern corn-
field scenery, playing a more folk-
type acoustic guitar.
The song came from his Island
debut album This Father's Day -
Himmelman's 1986 tribute to his
elder, who had recently died of lym-
phoma. After its alternative radio
See HIMMELMAN, page 8

R

r
Y

I, E*ENnD
MAGAZIN
Fridays in The Daffy
MS-0399

The University

of Michigan

SCHOOL OF MUSIC

Wed. Jan. 24

Faculty Recital by Leslie Guinn,
baritone, and Martin Katz, piano
Assisted by Paul Kantor, violin; Armando
Ghitalla, trumpet; Jerome Jelinek, cello;
Fred Ormand, clarinet; Harry Sargous, oboe;
Wendy Rose, bassoon; Michael Udow,
percussion
Performing works by Schoenberg,
Schumann, Wolf, and Poulenc
Rackham Lecture Hall, 8:00 PM

IEk DNC E
D ACE**
,...
V w ~ p ..4 . ..

Sat. Jan. 27

Prof. James D. Salmon Memorial
Concert (Percussion Alumni
Weekend)
featuring U-M percussion alumni and
students
Rackham Lecture Hall, 8:00 PM

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