Marge Piercy in Chicago This Week

Marge Piercy is coming to Chicago on April 16, 17, 18. And this is a big deal. Join us in welcoming her!

Of course, she has been here before — many times. And, the Windy City has had an important role in her life, as noted on her website, where she writes:

“After that marriage, Piercy lived in Chicago, trying to learn to write the kind of poetry and fiction she imagined but could not yet produce. She supported herself at a variety of part-time jobs; she was a secretary, a switchboard operator, a clerk in a department store, an artists’ model, a poorly paid part-time faculty instructor. She was involved in the civil rights movement.

She remembers those years in Chicago as the hardest of her adult life. She felt she was invisible. As a woman, society defined her as a failure: a divorcee at twenty-three, poor, living on part-time work. As a writer, she was entirely invisible. She wrote novel after novel but could not get published. Piercy remarks that at that time she knew two things about her fiction: she wanted to write fiction with a political dimension (Simone de Beauvoir was her model) and she wanted to write about women she could recognize, working class people who were not as simple as they were supposed to be.”

There are important other reasons, of course for her visit. They have to do with what she writes (and perhaps why she writes).

Here are the events:

April 16 at Jane Adams House, cosponsored by the University of Illinois Hull House and the University of Chicago Committee on Gender and Sexuality. For information, click here.

April 17 (with Ira Wood) at the Poetry Foundation. For information, click here.

April 18 at the Standard Club in Chicago, sponsored by Shimer College. For information (and to say you are coming), click here.

If you are unsure of why you might care, check a related entry at Evocations, where I link her visit to issues more directly associated with higher education in Chicago.


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    Shimerprez is the 14th president of Shimer College at 35th and State. She also blogs at the Huffington Post and at a Shimer Blog called Evocations which can be found on line at She is a University of Chicago Ph.D. who works on religion, the social sciences, gender and sexuality. She reads murder mysteries, is fascinated by the world of food, and also loves the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.

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