—THE COMMUNAL VOICE
AT A PARTY RECENTLY, we were discussing the funding crisis in the arts, and one practical-minded businessman complained, “But tell the truth: what good is poetry? What does it really do for people?” I wanted to say: it marks off occasions of beauty in the midst of our daily struggles—though I realized this argument would make little impression on “the bottom line. ” But if one would like to examine seriously what good poems bring about in our lives, a fitting place to begin might be with the writing of Marge Piercy. Through fifteen collections of poetry (and a symmetrical fifteen novels as well), her passionate voice has been embraced by diverse groups of readers for its political fire, feminist determination, spiritual questioning, and not least, for the sheer pleasure of its music.
As you read Circles on the Water, her selected poems, or collections like Mars and Her Children and The Art of Blessing the Day, you will see how the