Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Maxine Hong Kingston

Maxine Hong Kingston's books include The Woman Warrior, China Men, Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, To Be the Poet and “The Fifth Book of Peace.

From her Q & A with David Ulin about her latest book, the poetic memoir I Love a Broad Margin to My Life:

David L. Ulin: “I Love a Broad Margin in My Life” returns to material you’ve written about previously, particularly in “The Woman Warrior.” Have you ever considered going back and updating any of your earlier works?

Maxine Hong Kingston: I have found things that I could have done better in “The Woman Warrior.” But then I thought: Let the work of one’s youth just stand.

DLU: What would you have done better?

MHK: After I went to China, I saw that the villages there look like pueblos, like any adobe village you could find in Africa or South America. When I wrote the book, I pictured farmhouses the way we have them in the U.S., so there would be a farmhouse surrounded by fields, and then at a distance another farmhouse with its fields. I didn’t realize that all the people lived together in a pueblo and that their common fields were all out there. Everything that one does, in your house, affects the people on the other side of the wall. So I would have written about the villages better. That is a mistake in...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue