Category Archives: Marge Piercy

On the Nature of Time and Tides and Talent


I’m sending work out again. I’ve focused some on a longer wip  which has been nagging at me.

My only child will move out in a couple of weeks and I want to spend this time with her.

There is plenty of time to write like a fiend looming in my future.

Marge Piercy wrote a poem called, For the Young, Who Want To.  It has always been one of my favorites.

“Talent is what they say

you have after the novel

is published and favorably

reviewed.  Beforehand what

you have is a tedious

delusion, a hobby like knitting.


Work is what you have done

after the play is produced

and the audience claps.

Before that friends keep asking

when you are planning to go

out and get a job.


Genius is what they know you

had after the third volume

of remarkable poems. Earlier

they accuse you of withdrawing,

ask why you don’t have a baby,

call you a bum.


The reason people want M.F.A.’s,

take workshops with fancy names

when all you can really

learn is a few techniques,

typing instructions and some-

body else’s mannerisms


is that every artist lacks

a license to hang on the wall

like your optician, your vet

proving you may be a clumsy sadist

whose fillings fall into the stew

but you’re certified a dentist.


The real writer is one

who really writes. Talent

is an invention like phlogiston

after the fact of fire.

Work is its own cure. You have to

like it better than being loved.”