Books That Inspire 2001

Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy
Marge Piercy

There are two poems by Marge Piercy, written seventeen years apart, that recommend all her poems. The title poem of a 1973 collection, “To Be of Use,” was my personal talisman during the seemingly endless labors of graduate school, and it still re-centers me even today. I recommend a daily reading. A second poem, “Excursions, Incursions” from the Moon is Always Female (1980) has a hilarious reference to a professional woman with unmanicured, gardener’s hands. In the middle of a meeting when you see me smiling down at my folded hands, it is because I just thought (again) of that poem. Both these poems are included in Circles on the Water.
Nancy Mergler

Senior Vice President and Provost