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Winner of the 2000 Paterson Poetry PrizeAbout Marge Piercy's collection of her old and new poems that celebrate the Jewish experience, the poet Lyn Lifshin writes: "The Art of Blessing the Day is an exquisite book. The whole collection is strong, passionate, and poignant, but the mother and daughter poems, fierce and emotional, with their intense ambivalence, pain and joy, themes of separation and reconnecting, are among the very strongest about that difficult relationship."These striking, original, beautifully sensuous poems do just that. Ordinary moments--a sunset, a walk, a private religious ritual--are so alive in poems like 'Shabbat moment' and 'Rosh Hodesh.' In the same way that she celebrates ordinary moments, small things become charged with memories and feelings: paper snowflakes, buttons, one bird, a bottle-cap flower made from a ginger ale top and crystal beads. "She celebrates the body in rollicking, gusto-filled poems like 'Belly good' and 'The chuppah,' where 'our bodies open their portals wide.' So much that is richly sensuous: 'hands that caressed you, . . . untied the knot of pleasure and loosened your flesh till it fluttered,' and lush praise for 'life in our spines, our throats, our knees, our genitals, our brains, our tongues.'"I love the humor in poems like 'Eat fruit,' the nostalgia and joy in 'The rabbi's granddaughter and the Christmas tree,' the fresh, beautiful images of nature--'In winter . . .the sun hangs its wizened rosehip in the oaks.'"I admire Piercy's sense of the past alive in the present, in personal and social history. The poems are memorials, like the yahrtzeit candle in a glass. 'We lose and we go on losing,' but the poems are never far from harsh joy, the joy that is 'the wine of life.'"Growing up haunted by Holocaust ghosts is an echo throughout the book, and some of the strongest poems are about the Holocaust, poems that become the voices of those who had no voice: 'What you carry in your blood is us, the books we did not write, music we could not make, a world gone from gristle to smoke, only as real now as words can make it.'"Marge Piercy's words make such a moving variety of experiences beautifully and forcefully real."
More than 150 poems from her seven books of poetry written between 1963 and 1982.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In her most splendid, thought-provoking novel yet, Marge Piercy brings to vibrant life three women who play prominent roles in the tumultuous, bloody French Revolution--as well as their more famous male counterparts. Defiantly independent Claire Lacombe tests her theory: if men can make things happen, perhaps women can too. . . . Manon Philipon finds she has a talent for politics--albeit as the ghostwriter of her husband's speeches. . . . And Pauline Léon knows one thing for certain: the women must apply the pressure or their male colleagues will let them starve. While illuminating the lives of Robespierre, Danton, and Condorcet, Piercy also opens to us the minds and hearts of women who change their world, live their ideals--and are prepared to die for them.
In Colors Passing Through Us, Marge Piercy is at the height of her powers, writing about what matters to her most: the lives of women, nature, Jewish ritual, love between men and women, and politics, sexual and otherwise.Feisty and funny as always, she turns a sharp eye on the world around her, bidding an exhausted farewell to the twentieth century and singing an "electronic breakdown blues" for the twenty-first. She memorializes movingly those who, like los desaparecidos and the victims of 9/11, disappear suddenly and without a trace.She writes an elegy for her mother, a woman who struggled with a deadening round o fhousework, washin gon Monday, ironing on Tuesday, and so on, "until stroke broke/her open." She remembers the scraps of lace, the touch of velvet, that were part of her maternal inheritance and fist aroused her sensual curiosity.Here are paeans to the pleasures of the natural world (rosy ripe tomatoes, a mating dance of hawks) as the poet confronts her own mortality in the cycle of seasons and the eternity of the cosmos: "iam hurrying, I am running hard / toward I don't know what, / but I mean to arrive before dark." Other poems--about her grandmother's passage from Russia to the New World, or the interrupting of a Passover seder to watch a comet pass--expand on Piercy's appreciation of Jewish life that won her so much acclaim in The Art of Blessing the Day. Colors Passing Through Us is a moving celebration of the endurance of love an dof the phenomenon of life itself--a book to treasure.From the Hardcover edition.
An "exquisite . . . spot on" (The Hudson Review) collection of poems from one of our best-loved and best-selling poets that is both personal, with poetry about love, nature and reflections on the stages of life, and political, ranging from the war in Iraq and Katrina to concerns such as women's rights and the poet's childhood in Detroit.From the Trade Paperback edition.
"A triumph of the imagination. Rich, complex, impossible to put down." Alice Hoffman. In the middle of the twenty-first century, life as we know it has changed for all time. Shira Shipman's marriage has broken up, and her young son has been taken from her by the corporation that runs her zone, so she has returned to Tikva, the Jewish free town where she grew up. There, she is welcomed by Malkah, the brilliant grandmother who raised her, and meets an extraordinary man who is not a man at all, but a unique cyborg implanted with intelligence, emotions--and the ability to kill....From the imagination of Marge Piercy comes yet another stunning novel of morality and courage, a bold adventure of women, men, and the world of tomorrow. From the Paperback edition.
This new gathering of Marge Piercy's poems--energetic, funny, political, full of vitality--brings us the heart of her mature work, the first selected since Circles on the Water in 1982. Here are poems that chart the milestone events and fierce passions of her middle years: the death of her mother, whom we meet first as a young woman, "awkwardly lovely, her face / pure as a single trill perfectly / prolonged on a violin," and again as an older woman musing on what the afterlife may hold for her. There is a new marriage which she celebrates not only for romantic beginnings but also for the more intimate details that emerge over time: "love cherishes too the backpockets, / the pencil ends of childhood fears." Some poems convey her long-held, never-wavering political convictions, which she declares in language unmistakably and colorfully her own, as when she encourages her feminist readers to go to the opera instead of the movies because at least there the heroine is real, "fifty and weighs as much as a '65 Chevy with fins."Living out to sea on Cape Cod settles her into the rhythm of seasons and provides poems of planting and harvests, odes to tomatoes and roses, tributes to the power and freedom of whales. And in these years she rediscovers her Jewish heritage, celebrating holidays and making of them something new and original. She begins to examine her own legacy:I have worn the faces, the masksof hieroglyphs, gods and demons,bat faced ghosts, sibyls and thieves, lover, loser, red rose and ragweed, these are the tracks I have lefton the white crust of time.From the Hardcover edition.
A major new collection of poems about women's lives and the closing circle of nature, from a bestselling poet. These poems celebrate the beauties of nature and the eternal cycle of love, death and birth that is being interrupted by the assault on the environment.
Her seventh and most wide ranging collection. In the 1st of 2 sections, the poems move from the amusingly elegiac to the erotic, the classical to the funny. The 2nd section is a series of 15 poems for a calendar based on lunar rather than solar divisions
My Mother's Body, Marge Piercy's tenth book of poetry, takes its title from one of her strongest and most moving poems, the climax of a powerful sequence of Poems to her mother. Rooted in an honest, harrowing, but ally ecstatic confrontation of the mother / daughter relationship in all its complexity and intimacy, it is at the same time an affirmation of continuity and identification."The Chuppah" comprises poems actually used in her wedding ceremony with Ira Wood. This section sings with powerfully female love poetry. There is also a sustained and direct use of her Jewish identity and faith in these poems, as there is in a number of other poems throughout the volume.Readers of Piercy's previous collections will not be surprised to encounter her mixture of the personal and the political, her love of animals and the Cape landscape. There are poems about doing housework, about accidents, about dreaming, about bag ladies, about luggage, about children's fears of nuclear holocaust; about tomcats, insects in the rafters, the influence of a name, appleblossoms and blackberries, pollution, and some of the ways women objectify one another. In "Does the light fail us, or do we fail the light?" Piercy writes with lacerating honesty about our relationships with the elderly and about hers with her father.Some of the most moving poems are domestic, as in the final sequence, "Six underrated pleasures," which finds in daily women's tasks both pleasure and mystery, affirmation of serf and connection with the mother.In all, My Mother's Body is one of Piercy's most powerful and balanced collections.
Every year, poet and novelist Marge Piercy creates her own Passover seder with a group of family and friends. Babies have been born and grown up, friends have moved or divorced, but the principals continue to gather in her rustic Cape Cod home to participate in a seder that Piercy takes joy in tweaking each spring to make it more meaningful. In this journey through the ritual, Piercy coaxes us toward "a significant contemporary interpretation, rather than an emphasis on what is strictly 'correct' or traditional. " She reminisces about her grandmother, who thought herself unworthy to lead a seder because of her limited Hebrew but presided "morally" at the table; she urges adding an orange to the seder plate; she even describes her heroic efforts to make her own gefilte fish (an experiment not to be repeated). Piercy offers her distinct slant on each element of the feast and provides dozens of her own wonderful recipes, which she delivers in the same warm, commanding voice as is heard in her poems and prose: "When I told Ira that I was going to explain how to cook matzoh brei, he thought I was crazy. Everybody knows how to make matzoh brei, he said. But I am of the opinion that there is no longer anything that everybody knows how to cook. " It is in that spirit-no question too simple-that Piercy welcomes readers to her kind of seder: a homemade and personal affair, the kind we all wish we could attend. This charming and instructive book of Passover wisdom, brimming with favorite dishes and Marge Piercy's own moving Passover poems and blessings, invites us to look at an important Jewish ritual in a whole new way.
Post-Civil War New York City is the battleground of the American dream. In this era of free love, emerging rights of women, and brutal sexual repression, Freydeh, a spirited young Jewish immigrant, toils at different jobs to earn passage to America for her family. Learning that her younger sister is adrift somewhere in the city, she begins a determined search that carries her from tenement to brothel to prison--as her story interweaves with those of some of the epoch's most notorious figures: Elizabeth Cady Stanton; Susan B. Anthony; sexual freedom activist Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for president; and Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, whose censorship laws are still on the books. In the tradition of her bestselling World War II epic Gone to Soldiers, Marge Piercy once again re-creates a turbulent period in American history and explores changing attitudes in a land of sacrifice, suffering, promise, and reward.
Marge Piercy, a writer who is highly praised as both a poet and a novelist, turns her gaze inward as she shares her thoughts on life and explores her development as a woman and writer. She pays tribute to the one loving constant that has offered her comfort and meaning even as the faces and events in her life have changed -- her beloved cats. With searing honesty, Piercy tells of her strained childhood growing up in a religiously split, working-class family in Detroit. She examines her myriad friendships and relationships, including two painful early marriages, and reveals their effects on her creativity and career. More than a reminiscence of things past, however, Sleeping With Cats is also a celebration of the present and the future, as Piercy shares her views on aging, creativity, and finding a lasting and improbable love with a man fourteen years younger than herself. A chronicle of the turbulent and exciting journey of one artist's life, Sleeping With Cats is a deeply intimate, unforgettable story.
"Marge Piercy is a raw, tough, willfull, magnificent novelist."THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITO RSet against the early days of the modern feminist movement, SMALL CHANGES tells the story of sensual Miriam Berg, who trades her doctorate for marriage and security, but still hungers for a life of her own, and shy, frightened Beth who is running from the life Miriam seeks and into a new world of different ideas and a different kind of love.....
In an astonishing display of artistic mastery, Marge Piercy and Ira Wood have created a remarkably seamless, brilliantly written novel of lost dreams and strong ideals, fiery politics and consuming passion. David Greene was once the guy with the incredible pitching arm, but he never made it out of the minor leagues. Now, divorced with a son he's not allowed to see, David returns to his hometown, the small Cape Cod hamlet of Saltash, where he had been a local hero. There he falls into a passionate affair with Judith Silver, the wife of a brilliant and powerful man. Into their explosive mix comes Crystal, a single mother at the end of her emotional rope. Caught between two women and two volatile triangles of desire and devotion, David bears witness to a heartbreaking tragedy that seems as inevitable as the push and pull of ocean waves.
Under her mother's constant scrutiny and lost in the shadow of her famous senator father, Melissa is the third child in the politically prominent Dickenson family, where ambition comes first and Melissa often comes last. In college, she meets Blake, a man of mixed race and apparently unknown parentage. His adoptive parents are lawyers whose defense of death-row cases in the past brought them head-to-head with Melissa's father when he was the governor of Pennsylvania. While Melissa and Blake's attraction is immediate and fiery, a dangerous secret lurks beneath their relationship -- one that could destroy them ... and their families. Provocative and beautifully written, and dealing with themes of love, honesty, identity, and the consequences of ambition, The Third Child is a remarkable page-turner.
Suzanne Blume has known success and disappointment in equal measure. A respected lawyer who survived two marriages and put two children through college, she now faces the disquieting prospect of her wayward older daughter moving back home. But more troubling still is the news that her mother, a woman of legendary independence who has never truly accepted her daughter nor approved of her choices, has been felled by age and illness. And, for the first time in her life, she needs Suzanne's help.Intertwining the lives of three generations of contemporary women, master storyteller Marge Piercy plunges into the deepest, most elemental basics of life -- love, aging, illness, and death -- and emerges with a brave, compassionate exploration of the volatile ground between mothers and daughters.
Opening with a powerful cycle of elegies for her long-distant, half-brother, this major new collection by one of our bestselling poets then goes on to include both serious and funny poems about women and poems about the precarious balance of nature, ending with the beautiful, life-affirming "The Art of Blessing the Day." 160 pp.
Connie Ramos, a woman in her mid-thirties, has been declared insane. But Connie is overwhelmingly sane, merely tuned to the future, and able to communicate with the year 2137. As her doctors persuade her to agree to an operation, Connie struggles to force herself to listen to the future and its lessons for today. . . .
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