Marge Piercy was born in Detroit, Michigan in March of 1936 to parents Bert and Robert Piercy. She grew up in a family which was suffering form the worst of the Depression. Her father was often out of work and they moved from place to place in search of new opportunities. Piercy’s close family members were quite interesting. Her grandfather, a union organizer, was murdered while attempting to rally workers and her grandmother came from Lithuania. This grandmother was responsible for Piercy’s birth-name, “Marah.”
When Piercy was young she was encouraged to explore literature by her mother who was herself a great reader. Piercy found herself engaged with all manner of novels and volumes of poetry. Piercy was sickly as a child, but was able to finish high school, and win a scholarship which would pay for her tuition at the University of Michigan. At this same time, when she was only seventeen years old, after fighting with her family, left home for university. She was the first person in her family to attend college.
Piercy got married early in life and spent time traveling and learning that she did not fit into the typical role of “wife.” The marriage broke up due to her husband’s inability to treat her writing career with anything other than derision. Piercy’s financial situation was poor at this point and she tried all that she could to find a writing style that would allow her to support herself. She worked a number of part-time jobs and became involved in the Civil Rights Movement.
Piercy entered into an open marriage in 1962 and she and her husband moved around the country, from Cambridge to San Francisco. During this time period, she was still experimenting with different kinds of writing and was working on her novels ‘Dance the Eagle to Sleep,’ and ‘Going Down Fast.’ A year or so later the couple moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Their relationship ended in the late 1970s.
Throughout her life, Piercy has written over seventeen volumes of poetry as well as fifteen novels, a collection of essays, and more. Just as she began her wiring career, she finally gained success through her political views and support of feminist causes. She is best known for her novels which are told from a variety of viewpoints and her poetry which speaks to the empowerment of women.