the reach of a poem

“In Chinese time, it’s circular – it’s not even circular, it can go backwards! It can go backwards, it can go forward. It goes all over the place, it looks more like an infinity sign, like that. So there is a myth that poets have that my reader will come a thousand years from now. . . . Poem can also reach reader born 1,000 years before the poem. . . . An act of love I do this morning saves a life on a far future battlefield. And the surprising love I feel that saves my life comes from a person whose soul, somehow corresponding with my soul, was doing me a good deed 1,000 years ago.”

—Maxine Hong Kingston, AROHO 2015 Waves Retreat

Maxine Hong Kingston

Author: A Room of Her Own

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