(photo credit: Debi Milligan)
April 22, 2003
8:00 p.m. Reading
3303 Sage, RPI, Troy
Directions to Russell Sage Lab Bldg
Marge Piercy is one of America's leading feminist literary figures, a rare author who is unafraid to create novels and poetry with a political mission.
"Almost alone among her American contemporaries, Marge Piercy is a radical and a writer simultaneously. . ." - New York Times
An early spokesperson for the Feminist Movement, Piercy first achieved widespread critical attention with her third novel Small Changes (1973), which she wrote to serve as the fictional equivalent of a consciousness-raising group for women who had yet to be liberated.
"one of the first [books] to explore the variety of lifestyles that women are adopting in order to give meaning to their personal and political lives." - New Republic
the novel also stirred a great deal of controversy in the press for its depiction of American society in a state of "sexual warfare."
Piercy followed Small Changes with the science fiction novel, Woman on the Edge of Time (1976) a classic of feminist literature and a book that Piercy regards as her personal favorite. The novel's protagonist is a woman confined to a mental hospital who periodically travels into a Utopian future of gender equality.
"Stunning. . .marvelous and compelling." - Publishers Weekly
"Chilling, provocative and controversial." - Mademoiselle
Piercy's new memoir is Sleeping with Cats (2002), which begins with her working class childhood in a predominantly black section of Detroit. Piercy's mother was a housewife with a tenth-grade education, and her father a millwright who repaired and installed machinery. From her surrounds Piercy learned early about the inequities of the capitalist system. Piercy also recounts bitter battles with her parents and a self-performed abortion at age 17 that almost caused her to bleed to death.
The memoir follows her career through 15 novels, 15 books of poetry and a lifetime of political activism. It also presents portraits of her dearest friends--most of them happen to be cats. Indeed, Piercy regards the cats in her life as the one loving constant that has offered her comfort and meaning throughout her turbulent career.
"An enriching pleasure. . .a lovingly written memoir by a woman in touch with what matters." - Washington Post
Marge Piercy is also the author of a new collection of poems, Colors Passing Through Us (March 2003). In it she writes about the things that matter most to her: the lives of women, nature, love between men and women, politics (sexual and otherwise), and the endurance of love and life. Several poems evoke Piercy's mother, "a housewife caught in a grinding round of chores." A number are rooted in Jewish ritual and lore, and grow out of Piercy's central role in Jewish Renewal, a movement that brings new creative approaches to Jewish spirituality.
Piercy's work has earned numerous prizes, including a National Endowment for the Arts award, the Carolyn Kizer Poetry Prize (twice), the May Sarton Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction (three times), and the American Library Association Notable Book Award. With Ira Wood, she is co-owner of Leapfrog Press, a small-scale publisher of literary fiction, memoirs and poetry.
Marge Piercy's Home Page|
William Morrow Publishers
McKinney Contest, RPI
Sunday Gazette Article
Writers Online Magazine Articles (2)