Tonight marks the start of Marge Piercy's residency in Knoxville. She's here on an intercultural grant--which would be funny if it weren't sad. Her poems on Jewish identity helped us to secure the grant. Jews are in a minority in Knoxville, and can still be a curiosity. And there's still a pocket or two of anti-Semitism. I'm guessing that's true in upstate New York as well.
When the local news editor talked to Marge about Judaism, he asked, "Are you practicing?" And she responded, "Practicing what?" The culture here is slow-paced, polite, soft-spoken. Piercy is bound to make some waves.
She's a great writer, more than a force of nature with 40 books, poetry, fiction, plays, memoir, craft books. I'm a huge fan and have been since her poetry was a life raft for me in the 1970's.
For the university reading, people are coming in from everywhere, and from decades of readership.
The culture shock though--whoa. Stay tuned. And if you're "practicing"--pray that this residency by a superb author goes smoothly!
Causes Marilyn Kallet Supports
Southern Poverty Law Center, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, ACLU, Amnesty International, Save Darfur.