Photo Courtesy of the Author's Site

Marge Piercy

Current City, State, Country

Wellfleet, Massachusetts, USA

Birth Year

b. 1936

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Biography

Marge Piercy has written 22 volumes of poems and 17 novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers, the classics Woman on the Edge of Time and He, She and It, and most recently Sex Wars.  Her critically acclaimed memoir is Sleeping with Cats. Though generally focused on issues such as class or culture, and usually written from a feminist position, Piercy’s novels have taken on a variety of genres, including historical fiction and science and speculative fiction. Her poetry often focuses on similar issues, with more of an autobiographical lens.

She was born and raised in center-city Detroit in a family who was hit hard by the Depression. She was the first member of her family to attend college and was educated at the University of Michigan for undergraduate, received her M.A. from Northwestern, and is the recipient of four honorary doctorates. In 1971, Piercy moved to Cape Cod where she continues to live and work. She and her husband, the novelist Ira Wood, run Leapfrog Press.

Piercy has consistently been involved in feminist, anti-war, and environmental causes, and reflects much of this in her writing. The Moon is Always Female (1980) is considered a classic text of the feminist movement, and much of her poetry focuses around dismantling patriarchal systems and ideals. She is dedicated to exploring the interstices of ideology and aesthetics by way of Marxist, feminist, and environmentalist strains of thought.

In the last fifteen years, Piercy has also become involved in Jewish renewal. She helped found the havurah of the Outer Cape, Am ha-Yam. She worked on the Or Chadash siddur and often teaches at the Jewish renewal retreat center, Elat Chayyim. She has given poetry readings, workshops, lectures; has been a scholar-in-residence and has participated in panels at a wide variety of Jewish-oriented institutions all over the country. Her spiritual and liturgical poems are used throughout the English-speaking world for ceremonies and holidays. You can learn more about Piercy’s connection to Judaism here.

Marge Piercy is considered an extremely prolific writer, she has been a featured writer on Bill Moyers’ PBS Specials, Prairie Home Companion, Fresh Air, The Today Show, and many radio programs nationwide including Air America and Oprah & Friends. Her science fiction novel, He, She, and It won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Science Fiction in the United Kingdom. She has taught, lectured, or read her works at over four hundred universities worldwide. Piercy has also written plays, several volumes of nonfiction, a memoir, and has edited the anthology Early Ripening: American Women’s Poetry Now (1988). She has served as poetry editor of Tikkun Magazine.

(Biography courtesy of The Poetry Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and Marge Piercy’s Website)

Published Works

Poetry
On the Way Out, Turn Off the Light  (Knopf, 2020)
Made in Detroit (Knopf, 2017)
The Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2010 (Random House, 2010)
The Crooked Inheritance (Random House, 2013)
Colors Passing Through Us (Knopf, 2003)
Louder, we can’t hear you (yet!)The Political Poems of Marge Piercy, audio recording (Middlemarsh, Inc., 2003)
The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme (Knopf, 1999)
Early GRRRL: The Early Poems of Marge Piercy (Leapfrog Press,1999)
What Are Big Girls Made Of? (Knopf, 1997)
Eight Chambers of the Heart: Selected Poems (U.K.: Penguin, 1995)
Mars and Her Children (Knopf,1992)
Available Light (Knopf, 1988)
My Mother’s Body (Knopf, 1985)
Stone, Paper, Knife (Knopf, 1983)
Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy (Knopf, 1982)
The Moon is Always Female (Knopf, 1980)
The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flashing (Knopf, 1978)
Living in the Open (Knopf, 1976)
To Be of Use (Doubleday, 1973)
4-Telling: poems with Emmett Jarrett, Dick Lourie, Robert Hershon (The Crossing Press, 1971)
Hard Loving (Wesleyan University Press, 1969)
Breaking Camp (Wesleyan University Press, 1968)

Novels
The Cost of Lunch, Etc.: Stories (PM Press, 2015)
Vida (PM Press, 2007)
Sex Wars: A Novel of Gilded Age New York
(William Morrow, 2006)
The Third Child
 (Harper Collins/Morrow, 2003)
Three Women (William Morrow, 1999; Harper Torch, 2001)
Storm Tide with Ira Wood (Fawcett/Ballantine, 1998)
City of Darkness, City of Light (Fawcett/Ballantine, 1996)
The Longings of Women (Fawcett, 1994)
He, She, and It (Knopf, 1991; Fawcett/Ballantine, 1993)
Summer People (Summit, 1989; Fawcett/Ballantine, 1990)
Gone to Soldiers (Summit, 1987; Fawcett/Ballantine, 1988)
Fly Away Home (Summit, 1984; Fawcett/Ballantine, 1985)
Braided Lives (Summit, 1982; Fawcett/Ballantine, 1983)
Vida (Summit, 1980; Fawcett, 1981)
Going Down Fast (Trident, 1969; Fawcett, 1981)
The High Cost of Living (Harper and Row, 1978; Fawcett, 1980)
Woman on the Edge of Time (Knopf, 1976; Fawcett, 1977)
Small Changes (Doubleday, 1973; Fawcett, 1974)
Dance the Eagle to Sleep (Doubleday, 1970; Fawcett, 1971)

Plays
The Last White Class; co-authored with Ira Wood (The Crossing Press, 1979)

Nonfiction
Pesach for the Rest of Us: Making the Passover Seder Your Own (Schocken Books, 2007)
So You Want to Write
(Leapfrog Press, 2001)

Memoir
Sleeping With Cats (William Morrow Publishing, 2002)

Essays
My Life, My Body (PM Press/Outspoken Authors, 2015)
The Earth Shines Secretly: A Book of Days,
with Nell Blaine (Zoland Books,1990)
Parti-Colored Blocks for a Quilt (University of Michigan Press, 1982)

Edited Works
Early Ripening: American Women Poets Now (Unwin Hyman, 1988)

Author Site

Links to Sample Works

Video Reading

Education

University of Michigan, B.A.
Northwestern University, M.A.

Subject Matter

Genre

Profile Created By

Shelby Sizemore, Yetzirah Intern