Review: The Moon is Always Female

by | Book Review

The Moon Is Always Female is written by Marge Piercy. Having written seven poem anthologies, this is her seventh and is deemed the most wide-ranging of them all.

I bought this collection of Piercy’s just under a year ago, discovering it deep in the crevices of a second-hand bookshop. She immediately became one of my favourite poets.

Published in 1980, these enchanting poems meditate upon experiences of womanhood, love and friendship, as well as the small, tender facets of life, like Piercy’s admiration for oak trees, cats and zucchini. Piercy is an American poet and novelist, born in Detroit in 1936. She is best known for her feminist science fiction novels, such as Woman on the Edge of Time,thus it seems her poetry is often overlooked.

This collection is beautifully constructed, saturated with raw and candid meditations on what it means to be a woman. The second part of the book, entitled ‘The Lunar Cycle’, is the most striking section, entwining poems about womanhood, motherhood and femininity with the structure of the lunar calendar. She claims that rediscovering this calendar has opened “a series of doorways to some of the nonrational aspects of being a woman”. In her poem ‘Right to life’, Piercy condemns the policing of women’s bodies, writing “This is my body. If I give it to you/ I want it back. My life/ is a non-negotiable demand.” Moreover, in the eponymous poem ‘The Moon is Always Female’, Piercy perfectly encapsulates the experience of womanhood, denouncing the limitations placed on our sex, whilst also celebrating the innate strength and endurance women carry inside of themselves, for “out of necessity’s hard stones we suck/ what water we can and so we have survived/ women born of women”.

Words by Sylvia

Image by Nong Vang on Unsplash

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