Marge Piercy

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Marge Piercy
Born (1936-03-31) March 31, 1936 (age 78)
Detroit, Michigan
Residence Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Education BA University of Michigan
MA Northwestern University
Occupation Poet, novelist
Known for Feminist writings
Religion Jewish
Website
Marge Piercy's homepage

Marge Piercy (born March 31, 1936) is an American poet, novelist, and social activist. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers,[1] a sweeping historical novel set during World War II.

Life[edit]

Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan,[2]to a Bert (Bunnin) Piercy and Robert Piercy.[3][4] She was the first in her family to attend college, studying at the University of Michigan.[5] Winning a Hopwood Award for Poetry and Fiction (1957) enabled her to finish college and spend some time in France. She earned a 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".[6]

Piercy was a significant feminist voice in the New Left and SDS.[7]

Writing[edit]

Piercy is author of more than 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 non-fiction book, and one memoir.[5]

Her novels and poetry often focus on feminist or social concerns, although her settings vary. While Body of Glass (published in the US 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.[8] 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.

Many of Piercy's novels tell their stories from the viewpoints of multiple characters, often including a first-person voice among numerous third-person narratives. Her World War II historical novel, Gone To Soldiers (1987) follows the lives of nine major characters in the United States, Europe and Asia. The first-person account in Gone To Soldiers is the diary of French teenager Jacqueline Levy-Monot, who is also followed in a third-person account after her capture by the Nazis.[9]

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 with her husband, Ira Wood.[10][11]

Works[edit]

Novels[edit]

  • Going Down Fast, 1969
  • Dance The Eagle To Sleep, 1970
  • Small Changes, 1973
  • Woman on the Edge of Time, 1976
  • The High Cost of Living, 1978
  • Vida, 1980
  • Braided Lives, 1982
  • Fly Away Home, 1985
  • Gone To Soldiers, 1988
  • Summer People, 1989
  • He, She And It (aka Body of Glass), 1991
  • The Longings of Women, 1994
  • City of Darkness, City of Light, 1996
  • Storm Tide (novel)|Storm Tide, 1998 (with Ira Wood)
  • Three Women, 1999
  • The Third Child, 2003
  • Sex Wars, 2005

Poetry collections[edit]

  • Breaking out, 1984
  • Hard Loving, 1969
  • 4-Telling ( with Emmett Jarrett, Dick Lourie, Robert Hershon), 1971
  • To Be of Use, 1973
  • Living in the Open, 1976
  • The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flashing, 1978
  • The Moon is Always Female, 1980
  • Circles on the Water, Selected Poems, 1982
  • Stone, Paper, Knife, 1983
  • My Mother's Body, 1985
  • Available Light, 1988
  • Early Ripening: American Women's Poetry Now (ed.), 1988; 1993
  • Mars and her Children, 1992
  • What are Big Girls Made Of, 1997
  • Early Grrrl, 1999.
  • The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems With a Jewish Theme, 1999
  • Colours Passing Through Us, 2003

Collected Other[edit]

  • The Grand Coolie Damn" in Sisterhood is Powerful, 1970
  • The Last White Class, (play co-authored with Ira Wood), 1979
  • Parti-Colored Blocks For a Quilt, (essays), 1982
  • The Earth Shines Secretly: A book of Days, (daybook calendar), 1990
  • So You Want to Write, (non-fiction), 2001
  • Sleeping with Cats, (memoir), 2002

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jodie Duckett, "Poet, novelist Marge Piercy to read at NCC," April 9, 2010, http://articles.mcall.com/keyword/fiction/recent/3, accessed September 17, 2011.
  2. ^ "Marge Piercy". Contemporary Authors Online. Gale.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help);
  3. ^ Walker, Sue (1991). Ways of knowing : essays on Marge Piercy. Negative Capability. ISBN 0685509648. 
  4. ^ Piercy, Marge (2002). Sleeping with cats. William Morrow. ISBN 0066211158. 
  5. ^ a b "Marge Piercy". The Poetry Foundation. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ Swaim, Don. "Audio Interview with Marge Piercy". Wired for Books. Ohio University. Retrieved March 21, 2011. 
  7. ^ Sales, Kirkpatrick (1973). SDS. Random House. ISBN 0394478894. 
  8. ^ Michael, Magali (1996). Feminism and the postmodern impulse " post-World War II fiction. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0791430162. 
  9. ^ Marge Piercy, "Gone to Soldiers," Ballantine Books, 1987
  10. ^ "Marge Piercy". Poets.org. American Academy of Poets. Retrieved April 30, 2013. 
  11. ^ Wood, Ira (2012). You're married to her?. Leapfrog Press. ISBN 9781935248255. 

External links[edit]