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Marge Piercy


Poet, novelist, and essayist Marge Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, on March 31, 1936. She won a scholarship to the University of Michigan and was the first member of her family to attend college. She subsequently earned a master's degree from Northwestern University.

She has published numerous books of poetry, including Made in Detroit (Knopf, 2015), The Crooked Inheritance (Knopf, 2013), and The Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2010 (Knopf, 2012). She is also the author of a collection of essays on poetry, Parti-Colored Blocks for a Quilt (1982), and many novels, including Sex Wars: A Novel of Guilded Age New York (William Morrow, 2006).

Piercy is dedicated to exploring the interstices of ideology and aesthetics by way of Marxist, feminist, and environmentalist strains of thought. "To name," she writes, "is not to possess what cannot / be owned or even known in the small words / and endless excuses of human speech."

She edited the poetry anthology Early Ripening: American Women Poets Now (1988), and is currently the poetry editor of Tikkun. In 1990 she collaborated with Nell Blaine, a painter, on a book entitled The Earth Shines Secretly: A Book Of Days, which featured Piercy's poetry and Blaine's artwork. Piercy lives with her husband, writer Ira Wood, in Wellfleet, Massachusetts.

By This Poet


Doors opening, closing on us

Maybe there is more of the magical
in the idea of a door than in the door
itself. It’s always a matter of going
through into something else. But

while some doors lead to cathedrals
arching up overhead like stormy skies
and some to sumptuous auditoriums
and some to caves of nuclear monsters

most just yield a bathroom or a closet.
Still, the image of a door is liminal,
passing from one place into another
one state to the other, boundaries

and promises and threats. Inside
to outside, light into dark, dark into
light, cold into warm, known into
strange, safe into terror, wind

into stillness, silence into noise
or music. We slice our life into
segments by rituals, each a door
to a presumed new phase. We see

ourselves progressing from room
to room perhaps dragging our toys
along until the last door opens
and we pass at last into was.