The Poetry Book Group is led by Rhonda Williford and meets 4th Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m.
Now in paperback, a collection to treasure from one of our most popular poets: poems that range from the Detroit of her childhood to her current life on Cape Cod, from deep appreciations of the natural world to elegies for lost friends and fellow poets.
In her trademark style combining the sublime with gritty reality, Marge Piercy describes the night she was born: "the sky burned red / over Detroit and sirens sharpened their knives. / The elms made tents of solace over grimy / streets and alley cats purred me to sleep." She writes in graphic, unflinching language about the poor, banished now by politicians, no longer "real people like corporations." There are elegies for her peer group of poets, gone now, whose work she cherishes but from whom she cannot help but want more. There are laments for the suicide of dolphins and for her beloved cats, as she remembers "exactly how I loved each." She continues to celebrate Jewish holidays in compellingly original ways, and sings the praises of her marriage and the small pleasures of life. A stunning collection in the best Piercy tradition.
“Piercy once again proves her talent for finding beauty anywhere and masterfully elevating it against the dark grit of reality. From her own humble beginnings in Detroit to her life on the Cape, Piercy reflects on how she’s loved, how she’s changed, how the country around her has evolved, and how her past continues to inform her present. Touching and relatable, hers is a journey you won’t want to miss.”—Meaghan Wagner, Everyday eBook
“The excavation of landscape and memory bring a majestic tone to Piercy’s 19th collection. Her poetry is softened by nostalgia and plainspoken language; it is sharpened by striking images and her fury at the failures of social society.”—Anna Clark, The Detroit Free Press
A working-class gal who grew up in Detroit in the wake of the Great Depression, Piercy begins her nineteenth poetry collection with an autobiographical sequence of electrifying braggadocio and deep pain. She declares that she was saved by books. “Libraries were my cathedrals. Librarians / my priests promising salvation.” Piercy also experienced transcendence in nature, eventually finding her true home on Cape Cod. Piercy writes sensitively of the glory of the sea, storms, the seasons, but always with a divining sense of the living world’s hard lessons. In jabbing and fleet-footed poems that swing from rapture to outrage, she describes a heron wrestling with a snake, salutes the mummichog, a scrappy little fish tolerant of climate extremes and pollution, and shares a gardener’s knowledge of the changes wrought by global warming. Writing poignantly of social injustice, Jewish holidays, marriage, and age, Piercy, frank, caustically witty, and caring, generates suspense, drama, and arresting images, such as when she envisions her many selves, embodied in all the clothes she’s ever worn, “strung on a blocklong clothesline.” --Donna Seaman, Booklist