Marge Piercy (born March 31, 1936) is an American poet, novelist, and social activist. Her work includes Woman on the Edge of Time; He, She and It, which won the 1993 Arthur C. Clarke Award; and Gone to Soldiers, a New York Times Best Seller and sweeping historical novel set during World War II.
|Education||BA, University of Michigan|
MA, Northwestern University
|Occupation||Poet, novelist, activist|
|Known for||Feminist writings|
Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Bert (Bunnin) Piercy and Robert Piercy. Upon graduation from Mackenzie High School, Marge became 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. 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".
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. She contributed the pieces "The Grand Coolie Damn" and "Song of the fucked duck" to the 1970 anthology Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings From The Women's Liberation Movement, edited by Robin Morgan.
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. 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.
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.
In 1977, Piercy became an associate of the Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP). WIFP is an American nonprofit publishing organization. The organization works to increase communication between women and connect the public with forms of women-based media.
- 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, 1998 (with Ira Wood)
- Three Women, 1999
- The Third Child, 2003
- Sex Wars, 2005
- The Cost of Lunch, Etc., 2014
- Breaking Camp, 1968
- Hard Loving, 1969
- "Barbie Doll", 1973
- 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
- The Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2010, 2012
- Made in Detroit, 2015
- "The Grand Coolie Damn" and "Song of the fucked duck" in Sisterhood is Powerful: An Anthology of Writings From The Women's Liberation Movement, 1970, edited by Robin Morgan
- 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
- My Life, My Body (Outspoken Authors), (essays, poems & memoir), 2015
Awards & HonorsEdit
- Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction, 1992
- Bradley Award, New England Poetry Club, 1992
- Brit ha-Dorot Award, Shalom Center, 1992
- May Sarton Award, New England Poetry Club, 1991
- Golden Rose Poetry Prize, New England Poetry Club, 1990
- Carolyn Kizer Poetry Prize, 1986, 1990
- National Endowment for the Arts award, 1978
- Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2004
- 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.
- "Marge Piercy". Contemporary Authors Online. Gale. Check date values in:
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- Walker, Sue (1991). Ways of knowing : essays on Marge Piercy. Negative Capability. ISBN 0685509648.
- Piercy, Marge (2002). Sleeping with cats. William Morrow. ISBN 0066211158.
- "Marge Piercy". The Poetry Foundation. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- Swaim, Don. "Audio Interview with Marge Piercy". Wired for Books. Ohio University. Archived from the original on August 11, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2011.
- Sales, Kirkpatrick (1973). SDS. Random House. ISBN 0394478894.
- "Sisterhood is powerful : an anthology of writings from the women's liberation movement (Book, 1970)". [WorldCat.org]. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
- Michael, Magali (1996). Feminism and the postmodern impulse " post-World War II fiction. State University of New York Press. ISBN 0791430162.
- Marge Piercy, "Gone to Soldiers," Ballantine Books, 1987
- "Associates | The Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press". www.wifp.org. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
- "Marge Piercy". Poets.org. American Academy of Poets. Retrieved April 30, 2013.
- Wood, Ira (2012). You're married to her?. Leapfrog Press. ISBN 9781935248255.
- "Marge Piercy | Jewish Women's Archive". jwa.org. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Marge Piercy|
- Official website
- Piercy in conversation with Martin Espada May 20, 2009 from Lannan (audio file)
- Marge Piercy at womenshistory.about.com
- Marge Piercy in Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia at Jewish Women's Archive
- Marge Piercy on IMDb
- Biography from Fooling With Words with Bill Moyers on PBS
- Marge Piercy papers at the University of Michigan
- Marge Piercy at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Marge Piercy at Library of Congress Authorities, with 59 catalog records