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The Art of Blessing the Day

Poems with a Jewish Theme

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Paperback published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Winner of the 2000 Paterson Poetry Prize

About Marge Piercy's collection of her old and new poems that celebrate the Jewish experience, the poet Lyn Lifshin writes: "The Art of Blessing the Day is an exquisite book. The whole collection is strong, passionate, and poignant, but the mother and daughter poems, fierce and emotional, with their intense ambivalence, pain and joy, themes of separation and reconnecting, are among the very strongest about that difficult relationship.

"These striking, original, beautifully sensuous poems do just that. Ordinary moments--a sunset, a walk, a private religious ritual--are so alive in poems like 'Shabbat moment'  and 'Rosh Hodesh.' In the same way that she celebrates ordinary moments, small things become charged with memories and feelings: paper snowflakes, buttons, one bird, a bottle-cap flower made from a ginger ale top and crystal beads.

"She celebrates the body in rollicking, gusto-filled poems like 'Belly good' and 'The chuppah,' where 'our bodies open their portals wide.' So much that is richly sensuous: 'hands that caressed you,  . . . untied the knot of pleasure and loosened your flesh till it fluttered,' and lush praise for 'life in our spines, our throats,  our knees, our genitals, our brains, our tongues.'

"I love the humor in poems like 'Eat fruit,' the nostalgia and joy in 'The rabbi's granddaughter and the Christmas tree,' the fresh, beautiful images of nature--'In winter . . .the sun hangs its wizened rosehip in the oaks.'

"I admire Piercy's sense of the past alive in the present, in personal and social history. The poems are memorials, like the yahrtzeit candle in a glass. 'We lose and we go on losing,' but the poems are never far from harsh joy, the joy that is 'the wine of life.'

"Growing up haunted by Holocaust ghosts is an echo throughout the book, and some of the strongest poems are about the Holocaust, poems that become the voices of those who had no voice: 'What you  carry in your blood is us,  the books we did not write, music we could not make, a world  gone from gristle to smoke, only  as real now as words can make it.'

"Marge Piercy's words make such a moving variety of experiences beautifully and forcefully real."
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Winner of the 2000 Paterson Poetry Prize

About Marge Piercy's collection of her old and new poems that celebrate the Jewish experience, the poet Lyn Lifshin writes: "The Art of Blessing the Day is an exquisite book. The whole collection is strong, passionate, and poignant, but the mother and daughter poems, fierce and emotional, with their intense ambivalence, pain and joy, themes of separation and reconnecting, are among the very strongest about that difficult relationship.

"These striking, original, beautifully sensuous poems do just that. Ordinary moments--a sunset, a walk, a private religious ritual--are so alive in poems like 'Shabbat moment'  and 'Rosh Hodesh.' In the same way that she celebrates ordinary moments, small things become charged with memories and feelings: paper snowflakes, buttons, one bird, a bottle-cap flower made from a ginger ale top and crystal beads.

"She celebrates the body in rollicking, gusto-filled poems like 'Belly good' and 'The chuppah,' where 'our bodies open their portals wide.' So much that is richly sensuous: 'hands that caressed you,  . . . untied the knot of pleasure and loosened your flesh till it fluttered,' and lush praise for 'life in our spines, our throats,  our knees, our genitals, our brains, our tongues.'

"I love the humor in poems like 'Eat fruit,' the nostalgia and joy in 'The rabbi's granddaughter and the Christmas tree,' the fresh, beautiful images of nature--'In winter . . .the sun hangs its wizened rosehip in the oaks.'

"I admire Piercy's sense of the past alive in the present, in personal and social history. The poems are memorials, like the yahrtzeit candle in a glass. 'We lose and we go on losing,' but the poems are never far from harsh joy, the joy that is 'the wine of life.'

"Growing up haunted by Holocaust ghosts is an echo throughout the book, and some of the strongest poems are about the Holocaust, poems that become the voices of those who had no voice: 'What you  carry in your blood is us,  the books we did not write, music we could not make, a world  gone from gristle to smoke, only  as real now as words can make it.'

"Marge Piercy's words make such a moving variety of experiences beautifully and forcefully real."
Product Details
Paperback (192 pages)
Published: September 19, 2000
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780375704314
Other books byMarge Piercy
  • Sleeping with Cats

    Sleeping with Cats
    A Memoir
    Marge Piercy, a writer who is highly praised as both a poet and a novelist, turns her gaze inward as she shares her thoughts on life and explores her development as a woman and writer. She pays tribute to the one loving constant that has offered her comfort and meaning even as the faces and events in her life have changed -- her beloved cats. With searing honesty, Piercy tells of her strained childhood growing up in a religiously split, working-class family in Detroit. She examines her myriad friendships and relationships, including two painful early marriages, and reveals their effects on her creativity and career. More than a reminiscence of things past, however, Sleeping With Cats is also a celebration of the present and the future, as Piercy shares her views on aging, creativity, and finding a lasting and improbable love with a man fourteen years younger than herself. A chronicle of the turbulent and exciting journey of one artist's life, Sleeping With Cats is a deeply intimate, unforgettable story.

    The Third Child

    The Third Child
    Under her mother's constant scrutiny and lost in the shadow of her famous senator father, Melissa is the third child in the politically prominent Dickenson family, where ambition comes first and Melissa often comes last. In college, she meets Blake, a man of mixed race and apparently unknown parentage. His adoptive parents are lawyers whose defense of death-row cases in the past brought them head-to-head with Melissa's father when he was the governor of Pennsylvania. While Melissa and Blake's attraction is immediate and fiery, a dangerous secret lurks beneath their relationship -- one that could destroy them ... and their families. Provocative and beautifully written, and dealing with themes of love, honesty, identity, and the consequences of ambition, The Third Child is a remarkable page-turner.

    Braided Lives

    Braided Lives
    Jill and Donna are cousins and lifelong best friends but could not be more different. Despite their contrasting characters, fiercely independent, dark, street-smart Jill and pretty, blond, alluring Donna are very close, attending college together in Ann Arbor and then moving to New York City after graduation. Ultimately veering onto different life paths, they both experience love, betrayal, friendship, pain, independence, and fear. Though their fates differ as widely as their personalities, both reflect the danger that sex poses for women during a time in which abortions are illegal: an affair could destroy a woman’s life, and a chance encounter or a night of love could be a matter of life and death. Spanning 20 years and teeming with vivid characters, this poignant novel tells the powerful, unsentimental story of two young women coming of age in a time of enormous social upheaval.

    Vida

    Vida
    Originally published in 1979, this piece of revolutionary fiction is a bestselling author’s classic paean to the 1960s. At the center of the novel stands Vida Asch, who has lived underground for almost a decade. Back in the 1960s she was a political star of the exuberant antiwar movement—a red-haired beauty photographed for the pages of Life magazine—charismatic, passionate, and totally sure she would prevail. Now, a decade later, Vida is on the run, her star-quality replaced by stubborn courage. As counterpoint to the underground 1970s, Marge Piercy tells the extraordinary tale of the optimistic era, the thousands of people who were members of Students Against the War, and of the handful who formed a fierce group called the Little Red Wagon. Piercy’s characters make vivid and comprehensible the desperation, the courage, and the blind rage of a time when action could appear to some to be a more rational choice than the vote.

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