I Love a Broad Margin to My Life

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Jan 18, 2011 - Poetry - 240 pages
2 Reviews
In her singular voice—humble, elegiac, practical—Maxine Hong Kingston sets out to reflect on aging as she turns sixty-five.

Kingston’s swift, effortlessly flowing verse lines feel instantly natural in this fresh approach to the art of memoir, as she circles from present to past and back, from lunch with a writer friend to the funeral of a Vietnam veteran, from her long marriage (“can’t divorce until we get it right. / Love, that is. Get love right”) to her arrest at a peace march in Washington, where she and her "sisters" protested the Iraq war in the George W. Bush years. Kingston embraces Thoreau’s notion of a “broad margin,” hoping to expand her vista: “I’m standing on top of a hill; / I can see everywhichway— / the long way that I came, and the few / places I have yet to go. Treat / my whole life as if it were a day.”

On her journeys as writer, peace activist, teacher, and mother, Kingston revisits her most beloved characters: she learns the final fate of her Woman Warrior, and she takes her Tripmaster Monkey, a hip Chinese American, on a journey through China, where he has never been—a trip that becomes a beautiful meditation on the country then and now, on a culture where rice farmers still work in the age-old way, even as a new era is dawning. “All over China,” she writes, “and places where Chinese are, populations / are on the move, going home. That home / where Mother and Father are buried. Doors / between heaven and earth open wide.”

Such is the spirit of this wonderful book—a sense of doors opening wide onto an American life of great purpose and joy, and the tonic wisdom of a writer we have come to cherish.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - rmckeown - LibraryThing

An interview with Kingston aired on NPR, and I really wanted to like this verse memoir. A few of her poems had appeared in anthologies over the years, but none of them caused in me any over excitement ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kidzdoc - LibraryThing

In this fascinating and unforgettable memoir, Maxine Hong Kingston, an award-winning second generation Chinese-American writer and pacifist, shares the story of her past life and the experiences of ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
2
Section 2
3
Section 3
6
Section 4
7
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 25
Section 26
Section 27
Section 28
Section 29
Section 30
Section 31
Section 32

Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17
Section 18
Section 19
Section 20
Section 21
Section 22
Section 23
Section 24
Section 33
Section 34
Section 35
Section 36
Section 37
Section 38
Section 39
Section 40
Section 41
Section 42
Section 43
Section 44
Section 45
Section 46
Section 47
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Maxine Hong Kingston is the author of The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey, and The Fifth Book of Peace, among other works. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal, and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation. For many years a Senior Lecturer for Creative Writing at UC Berkeley, she lives in California.


From the Hardcover edition.

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