The Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2010 by Marge Piercy.
352 pages, paperback. Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
I’ve always disliked long poetry. And by “long,” I mean covering more than two pages in the book. For some reason it starts to lose my interest. My eyes glaze over and I stop comprehending what I’m reading.
Maybe that’s part of why I like Marge Piercy so much. The majority of her poems state their truth quickly, candidly, and in a very accessible way. Oh, she has a poem here and there that goes beyond two pages, but even those are approachable for me. There is something about the way she writes, her willingness to make herself vulnerable to the reader. Maybe that’s the job of every true poet: to make themselves vulnerable so that we, in turn, may acknowledge our own vulnerability.
The Hunger Moon is a collection of Piercy’s newer and selected poems from 1980 to 2010. Among all of her poems, she is unafraid to talk about homelessness, racism, sexism, poverty, war, pollution, love, sex, death. I love the way she describes her experience, her feelings:
I lose my way in night’s black pocket. From “Litter.”
Fear was the underside of every leaf we turned. From “Growing up haunted.”
Where do dreams come from? Do they sneak in through torn screens at night to light on the arm like mosquitoes? From “Where dreams come from.”
Reading her poetry makes me feel like I’m visiting with her personally. I imagine her house to be plush and comfy, and we sit down and kvetch about our families, our mates, the pets we’ve had, the world at large, the losses we’ve endured.
In her introduction to The Hunger Moon the poet says, “I write the poems but they belong to whomever wants them.” Thank you, Marge Piercy, for this generous gift.