The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme

The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme Review

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."

Title:The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems with a Jewish Theme
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • ak

    I picked this up for class but really liked reading it so I read it all...

  • Howardtu

    The poem "To Be of Use" is great...

  • Elise

    I started attending Friday night Shabbat services at a Jewish temple in my city at the recommendation of a friend when discussing ways to understand the Old Testament better. I had never before been e...

  • Claire S

    This book *does* have 'To be of use', and even many more treasures!This is a collection of works prior and current, collected by theme:Mishpocheh (Family)The Chuppah (Marriage)Tikkun Olam (Repair of t...

  • Librarylady90

    This collection of poetry is moving and inspiring generally, but especially so if the reader is Jewish. Piercy is an amazing poet, and this collection feels completely contemporary, even though it was...

  • Karen

    I was really looking forward to this book, but the poems did not resonate with me. I really recommend Merle Feld's 'a spiritual life' for life cycle and Jewish faith poems. Marge Piercy poems about he...

  • Amanda

    Favorite Poems from this collection are "The Art of Blessing the Day" and "My Mother's Body." I also loved: "The Wine," "House Built of Breath," "To Be of Use," and "For She is the Tree of Life."...

  • Daughters Of Abraham

    This is a more Jewish-based collection of Marge Piercy's poetry. Made a very good discussion. Themes of mother-daughter relationships and death and dying. (Review by Cambridge 1)...

  • Robin Friedman

    The Discipline Of BlessingsAmong the many blessings to be found in American literature and poetry are the works of American-Jewish writers. Jewish-American poets have been celebrated in two recent ant...