My Mother's Body

My Mother's Body


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My Mother's Body by Marge Piercy

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780394729459
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/28/1985
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.47(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.46(d)

About the Author

Marge Piercy is the author of fifteen collections of poetry, including The Art of Blessing the Day; Early Grrrl; Mars and Her Children, My Mother’s Body; Available Light; Stone, Paper, Knife; The Moon Is Always Female; and her selected poems, Circles on the Water. Her book of craft essays, Parti-Colored Blocks for a Quilt, is part of the Poets on Poetry series of the University of Michigan Press, and she edited a poetry anthology, Early Ripening. In 1990 her poetry won the Golden Rose, the oldest poetry award in the country. She has written fourteen novels, including He, She and It (winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award), The Longings of Women and City of Darkness, City of Light. The novel Storm Tide, co-authored with her husband, Ira Wood, was published in June 1998. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into sixteen languages. She and her husband live on Cape Cod.

Table of Contents

What Remains1
They inhabit me3
The Annuity6
Waking one afternoon in my best dress9
Out of the rubbish11
Of pumpkins and ghosts I sing14
The sun and the moon in the morning sky of Charlotte18
Putting the good things away20
The Crunch23
What remains24
My mother's body26
The Chuppah33
Witnessing a wedding35
Touch tones37
The place where everything changed38
What Makes It Good?40
Why marry at all?42
We Come Together44
Every leaf is a mouth46
The Wine47
The Chuppah49
How we make nice51
Return of the prodigal darling54
House built of breath58
The infidelity of sleep59
Nailing up the mezuzah61
The good go down65
Homage to Lucille, Dr. Lord-Heinstein69
Where is my half-used tube of Tom's fennel toothpaste tonight?71
Your cats are your children72
Mr. Big74
The maternal instinct at work76
Magic mama78
Nothing more will happen80
Blue Tuesday in August81
The Disinherited82
Cold head, cold heart84
Breaking out86
Paper birds88
Listening to a speech89
Making a will91
Still life93
From HoJo's to Mr. Softee94
The longings of women95
Out of sight96
Does the light fail us, or do we fail the light?98
Underrated Pleasures105
Building is taming107
Cowering in a corner109
The Listmaker110
Going into town in the storm112
The clumsy season114
Silk confetti116
And whose creature am I?117
In praise of gazebos118
The Faithless120
If I had been called Sabrina or Ann, she said122
The night the moon got drunk123
Sweet ambush124
The high arch of summer126
What we fail to notice127
This small and intimate place130
How grey, how wet, how cold133
Deer couchant135
Peaches in November136
Six underrated pleasures137
1Folding sheets137
2Picking pole beans137
3Taking a hot bath138
4Sleeping with cats139
5Planting bulbs141

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