Book Review: Marge Piercy’s My Life, My Body

Author: Marge Piercy
Publisher: PM Press/Outspoken Authors
ISBN: 978-1-62963-105-9
Pages: 128

This is a highly enjoyable collection of very readable “essays, poems, memoirs, reviews, rants, and railleries.” Mostly non-fiction, it’s strong and political throughout many of the works. I found it refreshing and energising without tedious polemic or finger pointing — the way good politicised critique ought to be.

Powerful: “Gentrification and Its Discontents.” offers a grounded experience and perspectives based on real life lived in places permanently altered for profit.

“What They Call Acts of God” ought to be published as a letter to the editor in papers nationwide.

Anyone thinking about being a writer should read this whole volume. “Fame, Fortune, and Other Tawdry Illusions” can help readers see just how their aggressive sense of ownership, their self-defined right to pry into favorite writers’ lives may not be welcome. Want some “fame”? Read this first. “Homage to Ginsberg” is proper, and one of the best demonstrations of gratitude between authors I’ve read in a while. Nice. “Why Speculate on the Future?” is another important essay about writing, feminist utopias, and word power. Her “Port Huron Conference Statement,” written for an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the SDS’ own Port Huron Statement, is, similarly, a powerful framing for writers considering poetry and fiction.

“Moveable feast,” while accurate, isn’t appropriate for this volume. Instead, this volume feels like early on in Le Guin’s EarthSea Trilogy, when Ged encounters Ogion and starts to learn about magic and spells. But with Piercy, it’s words and power. You’re Ged.

And the poems? The poems step to and blast. Short but developed, very powerful, and punching through targets.