Biography of Marge Piercy
an American poet, novelist, and social activist. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers, a sweeping historical novel set during World War II.
Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a family deeply affected by the Great Depression. She was the first in her family to attend college, studying at the University of Michigan. Winning a Hopwood Award for Poetry and Fiction (1957) enabled her to finish college and spend some time in France, and her formal schooling ended with an M.A. from Northwestern University. Her first book of poems, Breaking Camp, was published in 1968.
An indifferent student in her early years, Piercy developed a love of books when she came down with rheumatic fever in her mid-childhood and could do little but read. "It taught me that there's a different world there, that there were all these horizons that were quite different from what I could see," she said in a 1984 Wired interview.
As of 2004 she is author of seventeen volumes of poems, among them The Moon is Always Female (1980, considered a feminist classic) and The Art of Blessing the Day (1999), as well as fifteen novels, one play (The Last White Class, co-authored with her third and current husband Ira Wood), one collection of essays (Parti-colored Blocks for a Quilt), one nonfiction book, and one memoir.
Her novels and poetry often focus on feminist or social concerns, although her settings vary. While Body of Glass (published in the USA as He, She and It) is a science fiction novel that won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, City of Darkness, City of Light is set during the French Revolution. Other of her novels, such as Summer People and The Longings of Women are set during the modern day. All of her books share a focus on women's lives.
Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) mixes a time travel story with issues of social justice, feminism, and the treatment of the mentally ill. This novel is considered a classic of utopian "speculative" science fiction as well as a feminist classic. William Gibson has credited Woman on the Edge of Time as the birthplace of Cyberpunk. Piercy tells this in an introduction to Body of Glass. Body of Glass (He, She and It) (1991) postulates an environmentally ruined world dominated by sprawling mega-cities and a futuristic version of the Internet, through which Piercy weaves elements of Jewish mysticism and the legend of the Golem, although a key story element is the main character's attempts to regain custody of her young son.
Piercy's poetry tends to be highly personal free verse and often addresses the same concern with feminist and social issues. Her work shows commitment to the dream of social change (what she might call, in Judaic terms, tikkun olam, or the repair of the world), rooted in story, the wheel of the Jewish year, and a range of landscapes and settings.
She lives in Wellfleet on Cape Cod, Massachusetts with her husband, Ira Wood.
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Marge Piercy Poems
This girlchild was born as usual and presented dolls that did pee-pee and miniature GE stoves and irons and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.
A Work of Artifice
The bonsai tree in the attractive pot could have grown eighty feet tall on the side of a mountain
To Be of Use
The people I love the best jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
What Are Big Girls Made Of?
The construction of a woman: a woman is not made of flesh of bone and sinew belly and breasts, elbows and liver and toe.
For the Young Who Want To
Talent is what they say you have after the novel is published and favorably reviewed. Beforehand what
We sat across the table. he said, cut off your hands. they are always poking at things. they might touch me.
She wore little teeth of pearls around her neck. They were grinning politely and evenly at me. Unsuitable they smirked. It is true
The Woman in the Ordinary
The woman in the ordinary pudgy downcast girl is crouching with eyes and muscles clenched. Round and pebble smooth she effaces herself under ripples of conversation and debate.
The Cat's Song
Mine, says the cat, putting out his paw of darkness. My lover, my friend, my slave, my toy, says the cat making on your chest his gesture of drawing milk from his mother's forgotten breasts.
Implications of One Plus One
Sometimes we collide, tectonic plates merging, continents shoving, crumpling down into the molten veins of fire deep in the earth and raising tons of rock into jagged crests of Sierra.
My Mother's Body
1. The dark socket of the year the pit, the cave where the sun lies down
Attack of the Squash People
And thus the people every year in the valley of humid July did sacrifice themselves to the long green phallic god
Tomatoes rosy as perfect baby's buttocks, eggplants glossy as waxed fenders, purple neon flawless glistening peppers, pole beans fecund and fast
A heap of wheat, says the Song of Songs but I've never seen wheat in a pile. Apples, potatoes, cabbages, carrots make lumpy stacks, but you are sleek
The Cat's Song
Mine, says the cat, putting out his paw of darkness.
My lover, my friend, my slave, my toy, says
the cat making on your chest his gesture of drawing
milk from his mother's forgotten breasts.
Let us walk in the woods, says the cat.
I'll teach you to read the tabloid of scents,
to fade into shadow, wait like a trap, to hunt.
Now I lay this plump warm mouse on your mat.