To Be the Poet by Maxine Hong Kingston
(William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization)

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I have almost finished my longbook, Maxine Hong Kingston declares. "Let my life as Poet begin...I won't be a workhorse anymore; I'll be a skylark." To Be the Poet is Kingston's manifesto, the avowal and declaration of a writer who has devoted a good part of her sixty years to writing prose, and who, over the course of this spirited and inspiring book, works out what the rest of her life will be, in poetry.

About Maxine Hong Kingston

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Born in California to immigrant Chinese parents, Kingston was educated at the University of California at Berkeley. Kingston soared to literary celebrity upon the publication of her autobiographica The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts (1976). The Woman Warrior is dominated by Kingston's mother; her next work, China Men (1980), although not autobiographical in the manner of her previous book, is focused on her father and on the other men in her family, giving fictionalized, poetic versions of their histories. The combination of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, and myth in both books create a form of balanced opposites that one critic has likened to yin and yang. Her first novel, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, was published in 1989.
Published June 30, 2009 by Harvard University Press. 128 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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daily events ("I'd ordered a burgundy, but got white wine") and portentous sentences on her poet acquaintances (Gary Snyder, Alice Fulton, Fred Marchant) punctuate what are mostly Kingston's notes on her attempts to write verse, and on her ideas of what verse-writing means.

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