Copo of the Mo’: Marge Piercy

September 6, 2010

Insert Stereotypical Poet-With-a-Book Picture Here.

Since there is a larger focus on the largely known, largely taught canonical poets in the class, I thought it might be a good idea to post and talk about some of our own favorite contemporary poets. In this way, we can hopefully supplement what Dr. Scanlon is doing by having us subscribe to DailyPoetry. So, fellow poetry-lovers, I introduce to you what I’m going to call “Copo of the Mo’ ” (short for month, although it doesn’t have to be of that particular time frame; I just like the way it sounds).

In our first edition, I’d like to discuss Marge Piercy. Piercy’s poetry often focuses on feminist concerns, although she also works with other social agendas such as mental illness. She often works in highly personal free form (Bishop would be most displeased). I’d rather you check out her stuff than have me ramble for eight pages, so take a quick look:

The Friend

We sat across the table.
he said, cut off your hands.
they are always poking at things.
they might touch me.
I said yes.

Food grew cold on the table.
he said, burn your body.
it is not clean and smells like sex.
it rubs my mind sore.
I said yes.

I love you, I said.
That’s very nice, he said
I like to be loved,
that makes me happy.
Have you cut off your hands yet?

While “The Friend” deviates from some of her work in the tightness/shortness of the lines and general lack of imagery, what I particularly love about this piece is its abruptness. Piercy drives the cruelty of the male figure and slavish nature of the speaker home through the simplicity of her speech (with words such as “poking” or “nice,” which are childish in nature)., as well as a lack of punctuation.  And although this is not necessarily the technique that Piercy always uses, there is usually the effect of rawness and edge at the end of a lot of her pieces. If you’d like to check out more of her stuff, go here (she has another volume coming out in February!).

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