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The Moon Is Always Female: Poems

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,883 ratings  ·  98 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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4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,883 ratings  ·  98 reviews


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Steven Godin
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: america, poetry, feminism
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
Michael
Jul 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites, 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.
beau
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
...more
E. G.
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
...more
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."
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.
Vera W
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5/5⭐ ...more
Patti
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
...more
Hope
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
...more
Andrea
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!
Antonia
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
Solita
Dec 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Over thirty years ago, a professor told me about this book of poetry; she loved it. I never got around to reading it, until now. I started out with a feeling of, "Wow!" But sometime after "The Gaunlet," a poem I liked, for the most part, my enthusiasm began to wan, until I finally just skimmed, even skipped chunks of the poems. And just now, as I look at the title, I realize why the title bothers me. It is the same reason I got bored with this poetry. Too many unnecessary words. Like an intellig ...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."
N
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it
The title poem is one I've long loved and will continue to do so. I'd return to ten or so of the other poems in the collection. While many contain fine, surprising lines, there is a tendency to err on the overtly rhetorical side, which lessens the overall grace.
rachel selene
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“I want to say the names of my mothers
like the stones of a path I am climbing
rock by slippery rock into the mists.
Never even at knife point have I wanted
or been willing to be or become a man.
I want only to be myself and free.”
Lyn
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The poems are fantastic. I felt like we were soulmates.
Alison
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
If someone gives you a Marge Piercy book, it might be because they love you. If you find yourself welling up with tears with each passing page, it might be because you love them back. Thank you, Nammy.
Jenn
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this so much I bought it 😍
Sarah LaFleur
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wept, I smiled. This book is such a treasure.
Sophie Mangano
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5
Drishi
May 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: may-2017, poetry, 1-stars, dnf
DNF @ 47/115.

Not my taste.
Bridget Aleshire
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
women's intimacy shines in these poems.
CAG_1337
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a truly remarkable collection. Several were astoundingly well-crafted poems.
Alane
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most important pieces of women's literature ever. Also essential for anyone who is squirming in this WTF nightmare political climate.

This baby should be flying off the shelves again.
Kitty
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holy fuck dude. Gamechanger.
Monica
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My absolute favorite book of poetry!
Liz
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I have a mis-printed edition. The poems end on page 135 with a note on the type--and then restart on page 103. So I have 31 duplicate pages at the end of the book.
Adrian
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Probably my favorite book of poem, esp. the first portion of poems around everyday life.
Lly_th
May 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
Some good lines but it reads like sentences than poetry.
Theryn Fleming
Jun 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2000s, poetry
Marge Piercy is one of the poets I first came into contact with when reading The Norton Introduction to Literature when undoubtedly I should have been doing something else. (The poem was "To Have Without Holding.") I picked up The Moon is Always Female because of the many times my friend S/E has mentioned it as one of her favorites. It's the kind of collection that it's nice to leave out where you can pick it up and randomly re-read a poem or two when the mood strikes you. "For the young who wan ...more
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Marge Piercy (born March 31, 1936) 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
...more
“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.” 21 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 ?”
7 likes
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