Colors Passing Through Us: Poems

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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 ...
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Overview

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.

Author Biography: Marge Piercy is the author of fifteen previous books of poetry. she has also written fifteen novels, including Woman on the Edge of Time; Gone to Soldiers; He, She and It; City of Darkness, City of Light; and Three Women, her most recent, as well as a memoir titled Sleeping with Cats. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into sixteen languages. Among many honors, in 1990, she won the Golden Rose, the oldest poetry award in the country. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband, Ira Wood, the noveleis and publisher of Leapfrog Press.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Although Piercy has fun exaggerating her "bad reputation" as a militant feminist ("We take off our clothes/ and dance naked on deans' desks"), her poems can be warm and loving. She tempers 1960s politics and 1970s feminism with nostalgia for the world of her childhood, and her mother's Jewish recipes sound a lot like my grandmother's: "Did I say you add/ milk? Oh, just till it feels right." Then, veering away from sentiment, she'll remind you where she's been: "The night he wanted/ to try it standing with me upside down/ I left him hanging from the door/ and shoosh, zoomed off like a rabid bat/ to find someone who actually likes sex." A prolific author of 15 novels and 15 prior volumes of poetry, Piercy celebrates daily life on Cape Cod, where she and her husband live, with poems about gardening, cats, cooking, canning, and sex after 60. While all of these poems are eminently readable, the best are angry and funny; "Got the 21st Century Blues" ends: "I wait for the furnace man,/ Microsoft, the cable company/ wait for the propane man/ wait for the revolution/ wait for the messiah. Wait/ for a nice deep hold in the frozen ground." Piercy fans, of which there are many, will relish this collection.-Ellen Kaufman, Dewey Ballantine Law Lib., New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375415371
  • Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/4/2003
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 5.54 (w) x 8.78 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Marge Piercy is the author of fifteen previous books of poetry. she has also written fifteen novels, including Woman on the Edge of Time; Gone to Soldiers; He, She and It; City of Darkness, City of Light; and Three Women, her most recent, as well as a memoir titled Sleeping with Cats. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into sixteen languages. Among many honors, in 1990, she won the Golden Rose, the oldest poetry award in the country. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband, Ira Wood, the noveleis and publisher of Leapfrog Press.
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Read an Excerpt

--from page 125
Rising in perilous hope
12728
What can I hold in my hands this morning
that will not flow through my fingers?
What words can I say that will catch
in your mind like burrs, chiggers that burrow?
If my touch could heal, I would lay my hands
on your bent head and bellow prayers.
If my words could change the weather
or the government or the way the world
twists and guts us, fast or slow,
what could I do but what I do now?
I fit words together and say them;
it is a given like the color of my eyes.
I hope it makes a small difference, as
I hope the drought will break and the morning
come rising out of the ocean wearing
a cloak of clean sweet mist and swirling terns.

Copyright© 2003 by Marge Piercy
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Table of Contents

Photograph of my mother sitting on the steps 3
In the attic of dreams 5
One reason I like opera 6
The good old days at home sweet home 8
Her body inscribes 11
Lost 12
The glamour of it 14
My mother gives me her recipe 16
The day my mother died 18
Too long dead 20
Long night of the incomplete 22
Jolly woman with birds 24
Still the desert 26
In the department store 28
Love has certain limited powers 29
After the darkness 30
Chrysanthemum season 32
Hunting the hunter 33
The clock in the closet 34
No one came home 39
The true patriot 45
Dirty old century: 12-31-99 46
Got the 21st century blues 48
Resort offseason 50
Minor losses 52
The disintegration 53
Finest porcelain 55
Family values 56
Gifts that keep on giving 59
Kamasutra for dummies 61
He left but can't let go 63
Not in the dark 64
How it was with us, dear grandchildren 65
Winter promises 69
Where beach umbrellas spread gaudy circles 70
Take it as it comes 71
The gardener's litany 73
Eclipse at the solstice 75
A kind of theft 76
The rain as wine 78
The corner 79
Taconic at midnight 81
The equinox rush 83
After the loss 85
The aria 86
Leonids over us 88
Little lights 91
Seder with comet 93
Quieting by the bay 95
Sometimes while I am chanting 96
Time of year 97
Sins of omission 98
Shadows on darkness 99
Tapuz: an orange 100
The cameo 101
Miriam's cup 103
Colors passing through us 107
The grammatical difference between lay and lie 110
Love's clay 111
Old moon cradling the new moon 112
Chilled through 113
The first time I tasted you 114
Black leaves 115
The animal kingdom 116
How it goes with us 118
Black taffeta 119
Firebird 120
Worlds without end 121
Rising in perilous hope 125
Burnishing memory 126
The new era, c. 1946 128
The yellow light 130
Frozen as far as the eye can see 132
Flying over the Nebraska of my life 133
Roomers, rumors 135
Borrowed lives 137
Mexico City, 1968, summer 139
Photo instead of friend 140
Dignity 141
The garden of almost 143
On the water, reflecting herself 144
I awake feathered 145
The joys of a bad reputation 146
Old cat crying 148
The lower crust 149
Traveling dream 150
A conversation with memory 152
Tasting evanescence 154
As the way narrows 156
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