life of her own separate from the constraints of marriage. In exasperation, she defends her understanding of women's role: “It is nature! Explain it how you will” (249). “But I, ” said Avis in a low voice, after an expressive pause, “I am nature, too. Explain me, Coy” (249).
Marge Piercy was born in 1936 to a Jewish mother and a Welsh father in a working-class neighborhood in Detroit. She received BA degree from the University of Michigan in 1957 and an MA degree from Northwestern in 1958. During the 1960s, Piercy was an organizer for the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and a political edge is still evident in her work. In an interview with John Rodden, she says,
It's a very modern heresy that you can't have political poetry.... Politics is interwoven throughout discourse. If the attitudes that are spoken or implied agree with those you're used to, you don't consider them political.... If the attitudes expressed or implied are different, then it is seen as political or even polemical. (133)
Both a poet and a novelist, Piercy finds her subjects in everyday life, and her thematic concerns grow from her interest in environmentalism, myth, family and heritage, and feminism. For Piercy, the personal efficacy of art is to give “dignity to our pain, our anger, our losses” (188). But, as Piercy reveals, the function and power of poetry transcend the personal to the political:
The farther you are from the centers of power in this society, the less likely you are to find validation of your experiences, your insights, and ideas, your life. It is more important to you to find in art that validation, that respect for your experiences that no minority expect the thin, white, and wealthy can count on. (188)
Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time, a science-fiction utopian novel, is firmly situated in the politics of feminism and ethnicity. The novel features Consuela “Connie” Ramos, the titular woman on the edge of time but also a woman on the brink of an induced insanity. Her life is traumatized by the violent death of her young husband, the abusiveness of her second husband, poverty, her past drug use, humiliating encounters with the welfare system, the removal of her child, and her guilt and desire to reclaim her child. She thinks, “it was a crime to be born poor as it was a crime to be born brown” (54).