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The Moon Is Always Female: Poems

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,185 ratings  ·  133 reviews
“The poems in this volume fall into two parts. Hand Games, poems of the first section, is the daily bread of my past two years or so. They are the artifacts of loving in a personal way, of struggles in a wide and a narrower frame, of planting and harvesting in the earth and on paper, of building new friendships and mourning the death of friends. They speak of zucchini and ...more
Paperback, 133 pages
Published March 12th 1980 by Knopf
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  2,185 ratings  ·  133 reviews

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Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: women-poetry
Fantastic small book of poems that really spoke to me. I read it very slowly and just tried to absorb each poem and digest her meaning. Highly recommend to both women and men. Five strong stars.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful collection, if a little short, I really felt connected to her inner beliefs, and feelings. Not just as a poet, but as a person. I think she would make a great friend. The poems are a perfect blend of the gutsy and raw, the lyrical and the meditative. Some I felt the need to speak out aloud, I wanted to hear the words not just read them. She also conjures up such imagery and wonder, with a deep and concise mind, a touching human soul. A vast array of emotions was opened up. Very impre ...more
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, recs, 2014
Written at the start of the middle of Piercy's career, The Moon Is Always Female includes some of her strongest poems and many of her most meditative. The two-part collection refines the rawness of much of the poet's early work, dialing down its fury a bit and more carefully moving from image to image, poem to poem. It also develops the interest in Jewish identity, rituals, and faith that would come to define Piercy's verse as she aged. ...more
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
To Have Without Holding
Marge Piercy

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and le
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Nearly every time I've gone to the bookstore, I've ended up with this book.

Our first meeting was a bit of an accident: I'd actually been looking for something by Sylvia Plath but got distracted by Piercy's title. That statement--the absoluteness--was wholly seductive, wholly haunting.

So, instead of buying it, I siphoned bits of its beauty, year after year. For five or so years this went on. No matter what or who I'd intended to buy, I'd come back to this, read enough to satiate myself and bid a
Sep 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
I have this book in two volumes because I read it so much it cracked down the middle and split in half.

This was one of the poets I read in early high school that really touched me. Her poems were really helpful in sorting certain things out in my teenage mind. I haven't read through it lately, but I still have vivid memories of the poems.
Julie Ehlers
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
That's the stuff. So much wisdom and beauty here, and so much... recognition of the way life really is, if you're a woman, anyway. Favorites: "The Inside Chance" and (for more than 20 years now, and probably forever) "Right to Life." ...more
Jul 14, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
i have never seen a collection derail so quickly. i was obsessed with the second poem “when a friend dies” and combined with how “night flight,” the next poem, concluded, i was ready to buy this! thankfully i kept reading because oh my word. some of the worst poems i’ve ever read. “intimacy” specifically was when i started reading less carefully because it was just painfully melodramatic and childish—maybe i’m misreading the tone? i just feel like this collection lost its voice early on and neve ...more
Jan 30, 2022 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2022
found most of this collection poetically & politically dull.
Hannah Matsubara
Mar 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
As I read I felt I was listening to an extremely wise woman looking back at her experiences in love, solitude, and disappointment and remembering - with a clarity that for most has been numbed by the passage of ages -- the guttural sensation of systemic, everyday violence.

Bitterness permeates some of these poems but not all of them. She describes this type of pain as animalistic, needy, furious, innate... Rather than being spread over everything, though, this hunger stalks into our yards after
Nov 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Took me a while to warm up to this collection, but it did finally pick up speed. I love the abortion poems, especially those about the clinic workers. It makes the issue real by linking it to real people who don't have any medical stake in what's going on---they're just doing their jobs. Piercy's feminist tone is back again but softened in the decades after To Be of Use. Still love her, though! ...more
Cynthia Egbert
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
The rating would actually be a 2.5 as the imagery is good. I really expected to love this collection but it was just too focused on the negative and it brought me down. My favourite poetry brings me to a quiet place of thinking and pondering but this brought me to a place of despair and that is not a collection that I am going to keep in my possession and visit again.
Feb 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
a strong woman is... that poem alone helped me through a tough mental period, i turn to it every time that i feel that stress coming on again or when i see an other strong woman losing their footing on the world
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Aug 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, cool-titles
Although often in this vale
of razorblades I have wished I could
put on and take off my sex like a dress
and why not? Do men wear their sex
always? The priest, the doctor, the teacher
all tell us they come to their professions
neuter as clams and the truth is
when I work I am pure as an angel
tiger and clear is my eye and hot
my brain and silent all the whining
grunting piglets of the appetites.

In this collection of poems, Marge Piercy blatantly addresses issues which more often than not get brushed
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
my personal favourite poems were

excursions, incursions
under red aries
the long death
for strong women
a new constellation
the moon is always female
right to life
the sabbath of mutual respect
crescent moon like a canoe

however, all of the poems in this collection were worthy and weighed heavily on my mind. unsettling and true, i would strongly recommend this to any woman. marge piercy fucking gets it, and i really appreciate her for connecting womanhood and nature, and intertwining it into a c
Molly Smith
Jun 26, 2022 rated it it was amazing
love her so much
May 02, 2021 marked it as xx-dnf-skim-reference
May 2021
Borrowed because the title intrigued. Did not remember why I dnf'd the author's most famous time travel novel.
Was feeling dissatisfied until I finally figured out why, p. 46.
The poems are too accessible, too easy, at least for me (and I am not educated nor a snob). They've really not much more depth or sophistication than rock/pop lyrics... and they don't have the music to provide the 'hook.' Also the content doesn't particularly enchant me. The first two thirds of the book are these 'e
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The pitcher cries for water to carry, and the person for work that is real.

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what
May 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Piercy has some great moments like

Listening becomes eavesdropping and they
begin to feel my silence like a horse
in the diningroom. Gradually as I sit
my hair mats. Feathers stick up from
it, crow and eagle. My cheeks break
out into painted zigzag designs. My spear
leans against the back of the chair.
They begin to question me, oh, um,
do you live communally? What do
you mean, "open"? Hair breaks through
the back of my hands. My fangs
drum on the table top. In another moment
I will swing by my long prehe
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am not usually a poetry reader but many of the poems in this book stopped me in my tracks. Marge Piercy knows how to get to the core of the matter and fully describes feelings and experiences I have had.

Here is an excerpt from Morning Athletes

"It is not the running I love, thump
thump with my leaden feet that only
infrequently are winged and prancing,
but the light that glints off the cattails
as the wind furrows them, the rum cherries
reddening leaf and fruit, the way the pines
blacken the sunlight
Jennifer Collins
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is a readable and relaxing collection, exploring the casual in graceful and head-turning language. Mostly narrative in style, the poetry here has a constant eye to the feminine experience, to the place of the artist, and to individual independence from society and gender roles. At times, the poems seem deceptively simple, but many of them have a depth that invites further consideration and gives a nod to the irony embedded in everyday experiences.

I found this collection relaxing and straigh
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I came across this book at random at a local used book store. From the title, I expected, fluffly, trite, possibly pagan, probably feminist poetry. A confession - I looked at it to make fun of it. Instead, I found myself moved by the first poem I read. I flipped to another random page, sure that was a fluke. The next poem gripped my heart as well. I repeated that twice more before realizing that if I didn't buy the volume, I was going to sit myself down right there and read it in the store.

I to
Emma J-W
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I picked this one up in a value village in Whitby because I loved the cover and was trying to read more poetry at the time. I’d recently started dating this guy that was really shy and kind and wrote poetry in a note book he wouldn’t let me see. I had actually never dated a writer so I was so taken up by the romance of him. He said that when he was in love he would know it because everything sounds like love, like poetry. I simply hadn’t experienced much poetry that emotionally resonated with me ...more
Rhiannon Grant
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A rich book of often feminist poetry. There's a reason this is a classic - there are some excellent poems here and very few weak ones. It's hard to pick a favourite, but here is the first stanza of 'For the young who want to', a poem to which I think I'll be returning: "Talent is what they say/ you have after the novel/ is published and favorably/ reviewed. Beforehand what/ you have is a tedious/ delusion, a hobby like knitting." ...more
Bohemian Bluestocking
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was stoked to come upon this gem at a used/new bookstore in my area. I admit I was taken in by the magic black cat and moon and the title. It seemed the feministy poetry I dig. I LOVED the themes in the poems about activism, menstruation, navigating the world while female. This will be one of my treasures for a long time. It will really get you in the mood to walk out into the night while barefoot with wild hair and call on the triple goddess.
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned, feminism, poetry
The title poem "The Moon is Always Female" is a feminist classic; sticks mainly to the usual wise woman/crone imagery but is still inventive and evocative. I prefer Piercy's fiction because it usually has a science fiction bent. Her poetry is surprisingly alive, despite the overt feminist political stance. ...more
Courtney Llewellyn
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I was surprised by how much I liked this collection. I'm not an avid poetry reader, but this title caught my eye in a book exchange, so I grabbed it. Piercy's imagery really resonated with me, and I think it will with out like-minded feminist/naturalist types out there. I tend to give away books when I finish them, but I kind of want to hold on to this one. ...more
Feb 27, 2009 rated it liked it
I bought this book when I was working at a cool bookstore in Rochester, NY (The Village Green). I used to have to restock the shelves, and I thought that this book just looked good. I also believe the moon is always female...
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A lovely book, especially the poem, "Arofa" as it reminds me of my cat, Jude.
Marge Piercy touches on so many aspects of what it means to be human, to be a woman and to experience life's array of emotions.
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Marge Piercy is an American poet, novelist, and social activist. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller Gone to Soldiers, a sweeping historical novel set during World War II.

Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan, to a family deeply affected by the Great Depression. She was the first in her family to attend college, studying at the University of Michigan. Winning a Hopwood Award for Poet

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30 likes · 1 comments
“If I die this instant will you be more content with the morning news? Will your coffee taste better? I am not your fate. I am not your government…I am not your mother, not your father or your nightmare or your health. I am not a fence, not a wall. I am not the law or actuarial tables of your insurance broker. I am a woman with my guts loose in my hands, howling and it’s not because I committed hari-kiri. I suggest either you cook me or sew me back up. I suggest you walk into my pain as into the breaking waves of an ocean of blood, and either we will climb out together and walk away.” 19 likes
“Snow lies on my fields
though the air is so warm I want
to roll on my back and wriggle.
Sure, the dark downhill weep shows
who’s winning, and the thatch of tall
grass is sticking out of the banks,
but I want to start digging and planting.
My swelling hills, my leafbrown loamy
soil interlaced with worms red as mouths,
my garden,
why don’t you hurry up
and take your clothes off ?”
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