WARNER, N.H. -- Maxine Kumin, a prolific New England poet and U.S. poet laureate who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for her work "Up Country," has died. She was 88.

Kumin, who wrote more than three dozen books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction and children's literature, died Thursday at her home in Warner after a year of failing health, said the Bennett Funeral Home in Concord.

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Kumin was an advocate for women writers, social justice and animal rights. Her final work, "And Short the Season," is scheduled to be released this year.

Kumin's family said her work was marked by a love and deep observation of nature and an unwavering commitment to the craft of writing.

Kumin also was a prominent teacher of writing, occupying graduate or undergraduate visiting chairs or fellowships at Boston University, Brandeis, Columbia, MIT, Princeton and other institutions. At New England College in Henniker, N.H., she helped establish a new poetry master of fine arts program.

Kumin's work and life were linked to those of poet Anne Sexton, a close friend and collaborator who committed suicide in 1974.

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In a 2010 interview, Kumin said one of her early motivations to become a poet was reading "A Child's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson. She said many of those poems, which were read to her, were locked in her brain because of their melody. She said her life raising horses also motivated her work. -- AP