Feminist poet reads to YSU

Last week, Marge Piercy, world renowned poet and author, visited Youngstown State University as a part of Women’s History Month.

Students, faculty and staff gathered in Beeghly Hall’s McKay Auditorium to listen to Piercy read some of her work and talk about her life.

Piercy is an American poet, novelist and social activist with more than 40 poems and published works. She was born in a working-class family and raised Jewish. Piercy is the author of the New York Times bestseller “Gone to Soldiers.”

Diana Palardy, director of women’s studies, said she was pleased to have Piercy as a guest because she has always been one of Palardy’s favorite poets.

“Piercy comes from inner-city Detroit, so she knows what it is like living in a manufacturing city that has gone through some hard times,” Palardy said. “She has grit, humor and heart, so our students and community members could really connect with her during her poetry reading. The turnout was great, and I was so pleased that she received a standing ovation at the end.”

Many students in an elective women’s studies course attended the event and said they were fulfilled by Piercy’s readings. Sharon Zeicu, a YSU nontraditional student and journalism major, said she could relate to Piercy’s work because she was a young woman during the 1960s.

“I found her readings were universal and traveled full circle, applying to all women in the past and present,” Zeicu said. “Marge’s writing is both poignant and realistically raw in a manner that can be understood and felt by men and women alike.”

Zeicu said she was inspired to hopefully share her own writing someday.

Journalism major James Daniels said at first he had no great expectations and felt neutral about Piercy’s work. He said he was later intrigued because he also has enthusiasm for writing at an older age like Piercy, 77.

“I was curious as to her style and method of delivery,” Daniels said. “She was alive with deep feelings and life’s reality. Her poems opened my mind to the possibilities of a future in writing beyond journalism.”