#AWP19 Featured Presenter Q&A with Marilyn Chin

AWP | January 2019

Event Title: A Reading with Maxine Hong Kingston, Marilyn Chin, and Carmen Gimenez Smith, Sponsored by Kundiman
Description: Three prominent and essential writers take the stage to give readings of their work. A discussion follows on a variety of topics, ranging from craft to practice to activism, as we celebrate and further a discussion of Asian American and Latinx identity and solidarity. This event is moderated by CantoMundo cofounder Deborah Paredez.
Participants: Marilyn Chin, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Carmen Gimenez Smith
Location: Oregon Ballroom 201-202, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
Date & Time: Thursday, March 28, 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.

What are some of the conference events or bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing at AWP?
There are too many interesting events to name. I love going to the AWP conferences to see old friends. I am so excited to be sharing a stage with Maxine Hong Kingston, dearest sister and cultural icon! I haven’t seen her for years! I look forward to our performance/conversation together.

If you’ve been to an AWP before, what is your favorite conference memory?
My favorite memory is of Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott chatting together. I couldn’t hear them very well, but their sage-like presence was beautiful to behold! It was a miracle that the AWP was able to bring them together in their last years.

What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
Presently, I am reading Ursula LeGuin’s The Real and the Unreal. I hope to reread The Left Hand of Darkness and delve into her posthumous poetry collection as well. She has been categorized as a sci-fi/fantasy writer. I want to pay homage and reread LeGuin in a thorough manner and transcend the categories. She enjoyed writing in multiple genres.

Has public funding for the arts made a difference in your life and career as a writer?
Oh yes, my work would not have flourished without public funding—it’s the lifeblood of poetry.

If you could run into any author, contemporary or historical, at #AWP19, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I would love to run into Dickinson and Whitman. I would like to ask them: How does it feel to be the mother and father of American Poetry? See how you have inspired us all!

If you’ve been to Portland before, what places do you recommend that our attendees visit?
I was born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland. A few of my fave places are Powell’s Books, Mount Hood, Multnomah Falls, and the Oregon coast… and of course, the rose garden, and my nostalgic place—the rhododendron garden at Reed College.

Marilyn ChinMarilyn Chin is the author of the books A Portrait of the Self as Nation: New and Selected PoemsHard Love ProvinceRhapsody in Plain YellowDwarf Bamboo, and Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen. She has won numerous awards, including the United States Artists Foundation Award, the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Stegner Fellowship, five Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship to Taiwan, a Lannan Residency, and others. She is professor emerita at San Diego State University and serves as a chancellor for the Academy of American Poets.
(Photo Credit: Jon Medel)

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