- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
"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. 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.
A handsome, sub-sized book, To Be the Poet includes drawings by the author and journal jottings of lunches, telephone calls, trips and conversations with friends. It's fast and interesting, and useful as a blueprint on how to get a poem.
— Chris Watson
Maxine Hong Kingston's To Be the Poet reads like a documentary on the daily life of a writer, and it has the potential to become a classic...Her new book...is not simply about being a writer; it's also a memoir with suggestions for coping with life...A lifelong writer of prose transforming herself into a poet—becomes the central image of the book, establishing the structure for its collage of reflections and notes...She takes the reader with her as she rededicates herself to poetry...Every writer should have a copy of this book, along with more copies in storage, to pass out to friends and family who look askance at the writing life...[Kingston's] lyrical prose uses the specifics of one woman's life to make a universal statement about how writers live and work.
— A. Van Jordan
The poems themselves are not only good writing, but a kind of personal prescription for the development of wisdom. Poetry, Kingston said, has become an antidote and companion to the hard work of prose writing. I especially enjoyed how she moves from mundane tasks like selling her house to the loftiness of imagining peace in her poetry. Somehow, in the masterful hands of this writer, these disparate activities become whole. This first book of poetry by the author is also a sort of workbook of instructions for the creative, and I would highly recommend it to other writers and artists as well as those who love words.
— Ann-Marie Stillion
Kingston has written some mighty serious books over the years, and now, at 60, she's kicking up her heels and enjoying the fun of wordsmithing. To Be the Poet is her "manifesto"...Kingston pillages her past and plunders the future, assembling a slim volume that's deeply observational and disarmingly witty.
— Burl Burlingame
1. I Choose the Poet's Life
2. I Call on the Muses of Poetry, and Here's What I Get
3. Spring Harvest