My Mother's Body

Overview

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 ...

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My Mother's Body

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Overview

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394729459
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1985
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 5.47 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Table of Contents

What Remains 1
They inhabit me 3
The Annuity 6
Waking one afternoon in my best dress 9
Out of the rubbish 11
Of pumpkins and ghosts I sing 14
Unbuttoning 16
The sun and the moon in the morning sky of Charlotte 18
Putting the good things away 20
The Crunch 23
What remains 24
My mother's body 26
The Chuppah 33
Witnessing a wedding 35
Touch tones 37
The place where everything changed 38
What Makes It Good? 40
Why marry at all? 42
We Come Together 44
Every leaf is a mouth 46
The Wine 47
The Chuppah 49
How we make nice 51
House-keeping 52
Return of the prodigal darling 54
Down 56
House built of breath 58
The infidelity of sleep 59
Nailing up the mezuzah 61
Chiaroscuro 63
The good go down 65
Homage to Lucille, Dr. Lord-Heinstein 69
Where is my half-used tube of Tom's fennel toothpaste tonight? 71
Your cats are your children 72
Mr. Big 74
The maternal instinct at work 76
Magic mama 78
Nothing more will happen 80
Blue Tuesday in August 81
The Disinherited 82
Cold head, cold heart 84
Deferral 85
Breaking out 86
Paper birds 88
Listening to a speech 89
Making a will 91
Still life 93
From HoJo's to Mr. Softee 94
The longings of women 95
Out of sight 96
Does the light fail us, or do we fail the light? 98
Underrated Pleasures 105
Building is taming 107
Cowering in a corner 109
The Listmaker 110
Going into town in the storm 112
The clumsy season 114
Silk confetti 116
And whose creature am I? 117
In praise of gazebos 118
The Faithless 120
If I had been called Sabrina or Ann, she said 122
The night the moon got drunk 123
Sweet ambush 124
The high arch of summer 126
What we fail to notice 127
Tashlich 128
This small and intimate place 130
How grey, how wet, how cold 133
Deer couchant 135
Peaches in November 136
Six underrated pleasures 137
1 Folding sheets 137
2 Picking pole beans 137
3 Taking a hot bath 138
4 Sleeping with cats 139
5 Planting bulbs 141
6 Canning 142
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