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.
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.
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.
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
all, My Mother's Body
is one of Piercy's most powerful and balanced collections.