On the Way Out, Turn Off the Light

Marge Piercy. Knopf, $28 (208p) ISBN 978-0-593-31793-8
The multifaceted 20th collection from Piercy (Made in Detroit) touches on her identities as activist, teacher, cat lover, novelist, and poet. Among other topics, the poet confronts past pain, including failed marriages, recalling matter-of-factly, “earlier husbands were mixed bags;/ domesticity had its knives, needles,/ and pillows.” She shifts from these past relationships to the sensual “heat-seeking missile” of her current lover: “Yes, we make love in bed and on/ the couch, but we also make love... / out of ink and kitty litter, out of hours/ and days given to each other not/ because we must but from desire.” This tone contrasts starkly with her withering critique of current American politics: “We saw the cliff ahead/ We were warned/ We took everyone over.” Yet even in this fraught political climate, Piercy celebrates the beauty of the world through the joy of her furry companions, the bounty of her garden grown from seeds that “arrive in the mail, packets of hope.” At nearly 200 pages, even the most enthusiastic readers may occasionally find themselves fatigued. However, Piercy’s collection is full of life, companionship, and the importance of advocating for others. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 09/16/2020
Release date: 09/29/2020
Genre: Poetry
Book - 978-0-593-31794-5
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