Synopses & Reviews
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. Taking readers along with her, this celebrated writer gathers advice from her gifted contemporaries and from sages, critics, and writers whom she takes as ancestors. She consults her past, her conscience, her time and puts together a volume at once irreverent and deeply serious, playful and practical, partaking of poetry throughout as it pursues the meaning, the possibility, and the power of the life of the poet. A manual on inviting poetry, on conjuring the elusive muse, To Be the Poet is also a harvest of poems, from charms recollected out of childhood to bursts of eloquence, wonder, and waggish wit along the way to discovering what it is to be a poet.
"[Kingston's] lyrical prose uses...specifics of one woman's life to make a universal statement about how writers live and work." A. Van Jordan, Washington Post
"She gives her readers the opportunity to see an accomplished artist at work in the creative process a new one for her. This book should appeal to all who have had the urge to put pen to paper." Ron Ratliff, Library Journal
This is a collection of poems, from charms recollected out of childhood to nursts of eloquence, wonder and waggish wit along the way to discovering what it is to be a poet.
A manual on conjuring the elusive muse, this volume is Kingston's manifesto, avowal, and declaration of a writer who turns to poetry exclusively. Kingston delivered the 2000 William Massey lectures at Harvard, on which this book is based. Illustrations.
"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.
2008 Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, National Book Foundation
Maxine Hong Kingston is a 1997 National Humanities Medal Winner
About the Author
Maxine Hong Kingston, Senior Lecturer for Creative Writing at the <>University of California, Berkeley, delivered the 2000 William E. Massey Lectures at Harvard, on which this book is based. For her memoirs and fiction, The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey, and Hawaii One Summer, Kingston has earned numerous awards, among them the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Pen West Award for Fiction, an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Literature Award, and a National Humanities Medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as the rare title of "Living Treasure of Hawai'i." In addition, The Fifth Book of Peacewill be published in the Spring of 2003.
Table of Contents
1. I Choose the Poet's Life
2. I Call on the Muses of Poetry, and Here's What I Get
3. Spring Harvest