Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” On the first of each month, a guest writer shares how he or she spends the day.

May 1, 2012: Marge Piercy

I’ve been reading books by Marge Piercy for over twenty years. The first one I read was Summer People, published in 1989:

One of the reasons she liked sleeping alone was to avoid having to talk to anybody before she set down or played those lines, chords, rhythms, those shapes of sound that moved in her. Music was fragile when it started to coalesce. Silence was the ground.

Then Gone To Soldiers and The Longings of Women, which I re-bought because I gave my hardback to someone who could not part with it. Seventeen novels so far, her first one published in 1969.

And eighteen volumes of poetry, her first one published in 1968. From Mars and Her Children:

When I was poor and shopped Salvation Army
stores for clothes and housewares, I used
to think I could hear the clothes whispering
in piles the dreams of women who discarded them,
this is the dress in which he did not love me,
this is the coat that never kept me warm
from the wind of need and anxiety’s icy tweak.

from “Cast skins”


How can we belong to ourselves, when home
is something to pry yourself out of
like a pickup stuck on a sand road;
when what holds you has to be sacrificed
as a fox will gnaw off a foot to be free.

Growing up, what you love most can trap you.

from “Up and out”


Easy to forget the shock
of the miracle and turn love
into a background hum, air
conditioning, the hiss on a record,
when it is the electricity
that powers us.

from “Domestic danger”

In addition to novels and poetry, Marge Piercy has written a book of essays, a play, a memoir, and a book on writing.

Come back on May 1st to read how Marge Piercy spends her days.

*The next writer in the series is announced on the 8th of each month so you can read ahead!