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. 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