Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Marge Piercy

I was introduced to Marge Piercy's work by a friend over the phone a couple of years ago. In fact, he is the same friend who introduced me to Terry Pratchett's work and indirectly inspired Troubled Waters (that last one may or may not be a complement, depending on how you look at it).

Anyway, my first experience with Piercy's work was "For Strong Women". Though I didn't tell him, I think this friend sensed that I was running particularly vulnerable that night--feeling pretty lousy about myself and so on--so I heard it at just the right time. After we got off the phone, I went in search of more of her poetry and found "Belly Good" and "Attack of the Squash People" and my personal favorite, "Cats like Angels". While I enjoy being challenged to think by poets, I also enjoy work that simply speaks the truth, is approachable, easy to digest and makes me nod my head and go "so that's how you express that feeling/thought/experience" successfully in a poem. Plus, I always feel better about myself when I've finished reading her work.

Thanks to a terrific thread started on the pffa by Scotty, several people are sharing the books they are finished with and I've just received "Colors Passing Through Us" by Marge Piercy from Howard Miller. I've already devoured the first nine poems (this is quick for me). This particular section is entitled "Women in Dark Houses" and it explores the narrator's mother's life as well as her death and the narrator's feelings about her loss. Marge truly captures the paradox of the mother-daughter relationship--how they exasperate us, make us laugh and cry, and fill us with, respect and sympathy, sometimes all at the same time. I really like "My Mother Gives me her Recipe" because I've had conversations with my mother that sound just like that.

I often share what I'm reading with my husband, but he's not comfortable with the rawness of Piercy's work, and does not relate to many of her themes so I'm on my own with this poet. The only downside to this is that there's nobody here to read to when I find something that pleases me. On the other hand it's nice to have something that he doesn't want and I don't have to worry about him absconding with it before I'm done. This is a bit like having a half gallon of buttermilk in the fridge; nobody but me wants it and that's just fine with me.

No comments: