Since The Prelude, the poem-memoir has been surprisingly rare, especially in a day when lives are scarcely lived before they’re committed to Facebook or laid open like fresh corpses in blogs. I Love a Broad Margin to My Life, Maxine Hong Kingston’s breezy and peculiar new memoir, is cast in verse, which to a prose writer must seem a wonderful idea.[1] Writing verse is so easy, after all—why, it just spills down the page like Jackson Pollock’s dribbles. You break the lines wherever you like—never too long, never too short—and soon a humble-jumble work briefer than The Great Gatsby is splashed across two hundred pages or more.

I am turning 65 years of age.
In 2 weeks I will be 65 years old.
I can accumulate time and lose
time? I...

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Maxine Hong Kingston
I Love a Broad Margin to My Life
Knopf, 240 pages, $24.95

Thomas Lynch
Walking Papers: Poems
W. W. Norton & Company, 96 pages, $24.95

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
The Sun-fish
Wake Forest University Press, 77 pages, $21.95

Kimiko Hahn
Toxic Flora: Poems
W. W. Norton & Company, 128 pages, $24.95

Paul Muldoon
Maggot: Poems
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 144 pages, $24.00

Gjertrud Schnackenberg
Heavenly Questions: Poems
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 80 pages, $23.00

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