Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Love a Broad Margin to My Life by Maxine Hong Kingston

An interview with Kingston aired on NPR, and I really wanted to like this verse memoir. A few of her poems had appeared in anthologies over the years, but none of them caused in me any over excitement. Her interview, on the other hand, sounded so interesting, I immediately went out and bought the book.

While the poem had its interesting moments, those were few and far between. Large sections slipped into stream of consciousness, compounded with some obscure cultural references. Some of those references are explained in a glossary, but some are not.

This example of such a passage might illustrate what I mean:

“Sleeping in public, jet-lagged, soul
loose from soul, body trusted itself to
the grass, the ground, the earth, the good earth,
and rested in that state where dream is wake,
wake is dream. Conscious you are conscious.
Climb – fly – high and higher, and know:
Now / Always, all connects to all.” (60)

However, I am not giving up on this book. I have really been busy with school and other projects, so I am going to set it aside and come back when I am in a calmer state of mind. 3 stars – for now!

--Chiron, 7/17/11

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