Members Who Read Most Number Of Poems

(March 31, 1936 / Detroit, Michigan)

Quotations

  • ''... probably all of the women in this book are working to make part of the same quilt to keep us from freezing to death in a world that grows harsher and bleaker—where male is the norm and the ideal human being is hard, violent and cold: a macho rock. Every woman who makes of her living something strong and good is sharing bread with us.''
    Marge Piercy (b. 1936), U.S. poet, novelist, and political activist. As quoted in Mountain Moving Day, by Elaine Gill (1973). "This book" was a feminist collection of poetry by women.
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  • ''Loving feels lonely in a violent world,
    irrelevant to people burning like last year's weed
    with bellies distended, with fish throats agape
    and flesh melting down to glue.
    We can no longer shut out the screaming
    That leaks through the ventilation system ...''
    Marge Piercy (b. 1936), U.S. poet, novelist, and political activist. "Community," lines 1-6 (1969). Referring to television and photographic images of the Vietnam War, which was at its height when this was written. Piercy was a prominent activist in the antiwar movement.
  • ''Remember that every son had a mother
    whose beloved son he was,
    and every woman had a mother
    whose beloved son she wasn't.''
    Marge Piercy (20th century), U.S. writer. "Doing It Differently," Circles on the Water (1892).
  • ''The real writer is one
    who really writes. Talent
    is an invention like phlogiston
    after the fact of fire.
    Work is its own cure. You have to
    like it better than being loved.''
    Marge Piercy (b. 1936), U.S. poet and novelist. "For the Young Who Want To," lines 31-36 (1980).
  • ''this quilt might be
    the only perfect artifact a woman
    would ever see, yet she did not doubt
    what we had forgotten, that out of her
    potatoes and colic, sawdust and blood
    she could create ...''
    Marge Piercy (b. 1936), U.S. poet, novelist, and political activist. "Looking at Quilts," lines 44-49 (1976).
  • ''This life is a war we are not yet
    winning for our daughters' children.
    Don't do your enemies' work for them.
    Finish your own.''
    Marge Piercy (b. 1936), U.S. poet, novelist, and political activist. "Memo To: ... Subject:," lines 53-56 (1980). Directed to "female poets" and naming twenty strongly feminist women poets, this poem argued the importance of persevering in the face of problems and frustrations.
  • ''Rape fattens on the fantasies of the normal male
    like a maggot in garbage.''
    Marge Piercy (b. 1936), U.S. poet, novelist, and political activist. "Rape Poem," lines 18-19 (1976).
  • ''A new idea is rarely born like Venus attended by graces
    More commonly it's modeled of baling wire and acne.
    More commonly it wheezes and tips over.''
    Marge Piercy (b. 1936), U.S. poet, novelist, and political activist. "Rough Times," lines 20-22 (1976).
  • ''We are trying to live
    as if we were an experiment
    conducted by the future''
    Marge Piercy (b. 1936), U.S. poet, novelist, and political activist. "Rough Times," lines 1-3 (1976). On women's trying to construct lives that break with traditional sex roles.
  • ''This is the 184th Demonstration.
    ...
    What we do is not beautiful
    hurts no one makes no one desperate
    we do not break the panes of safety glass
    stretching between people on the street
    and the deaths they hire.''
    Marge Piercy (b. 1936), U.S. poet, novelist, and political activist. "The 184th Demonstration," lines 1, 27-31 (1968). On the countless demonstrations mounted to protest the United States' involvement in the Vietnam War; Piercy was a prominent activist in the antiwar movement.

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To the Pay Toilet

You strop my anger, especially
when I find you in restaurant or bar
and pay for the same liquid, coming and going.
In bus depots and airports and turnpike plazas
some woman is dragging in with three kids hung off her
shrieking their simple urgency like gulls.
She's supposed to pay for each of them
and the privilege of not dirtying the corporate floor.
Sometimes a woman in a uniform's on duty

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