Mars and Her Children

by Marge Piercy. Knopf 1992, $20 hardcover, $11 paperback.

Whether crafting a paean to the onion, reliving childhood experiences, or sardonically exposing the dark underside of the modern technological age, Marge Piercy writes through her body. Despite the differing tones of her religious poems and those which describe such mundane activities as building an addition onto one’s house, Piercy’s language, as well as the care with which she casts her subjects, demonstrates a unified approach to all aspects of human existence— one firmly rooted in physical experience.

With its mix of humor, Jewish spirituality, feminism, political activism, sexuality, environmentalism, and extraordinary literary talent, Piercy’s latest collection provides poems to recite during kabbalat shabbat as well as to post on the refrigerator. A favorite title; “It Ain’t Heavy, It’s My Purse.” A favorite stanza;

“Cleveland was the promised land of my childhood,/where my bubba cooked kosher and even her cat had good/manners and sat at the table, and she told me that/when they were alone, he used a knife and fork. /I always hoped he would do it while I was eating.”