Grace Paley was an American-Jewish short story writer, poet, and political activist.
Grace Paley (née Goodside) was born in the Bronx to Isaac and Manya Ridnyik Goodside, who anglicized the family name from Gutseit on immigrating from Ukraine. Her father was a doctor. The family spoke Russian and Yiddish along with English. The youngest of the three Goodside children (sixteen and fourteen years younger than brother and sister Victor and Jeanne, respectively), Paley was a tomboy as a child.
In 1938 and 1939, Paley attended Hunter College, then, briefly New York University, but never received a degree. In the early 1940s, Paley studied with W. H. ... more »
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Grace Paley Poems
Here I am in the garden laughing an old woman with heavy breasts and a nicely mapped face
My friend tells me a man in my house jumped off the roof the roof is the eighth floor of this building the roof door was locked how did he manage?
The Poet's Occasional Alternative
I was going to write a poem I made a pie instead it took about the same amount of time of course the pie was a final
What is sometimes called a tongue of flame or an arm extended burning is only the long
One day lying on my stomach in the afternoon trying to sleep I suffered penis envy (much to my surprise and with no belief in Freud for years
When I Was Asked How I Could Leave Vermo...
I did not want to be dependent on autumn I wanted to miss it for once dropp into another latitude where it wasn't so well knownI wanted to show that beauty
Walking In The Woods
That's when I saw the old maple a couple of its thick arms cracked one arm reclining half rotted into earth black with the delicious
One Day I Decided
One day I decided to not grow any older lots of luck I said to myself (my joking self) then I looked up at the sky which is wide its bluenessits whiteness
The Boy His Mother
she said you were a wonderful boy this evening at a dinner among friends so attentive so grown up the boy's heart oh his ribs
What has happened? language eludes me the nice specifying words of my life fail
Reading The Newspapers At The Village St...
this morning the hills rolled over in mist the hot watermaking sun
People In My Family
In my family people who were eighty-two were very different from people who were ninety-two The eighty-two-year-old people grew up
Hand Me Downs
My love rests on the couch in the sweater and bones of old age I have stopped reading to look at him I take his hand I am shawled in my own somewhat
Quotationsmore quotations »
''The word career is a divisive word. It's a word that divides the normal life from business or professional life.''Grace Paley (b. 1922), U.S. story writer, poet, and peace activist. As quoted in Listen to Their Voices, ch. 1, by Mickey Pearlman (1993).
Comments about Grace Paley
Here I am in the garden laughing
an old woman with heavy breasts
and a nicely mapped face
how did this happen
well that's who I wanted to be
at last a woman
in the old style sitting
stout thighs apart under
a big skirt grandchild sliding
on off my lap a pleasant
that's my old man across the yard
he's talking to the meter reader
he's telling him the world's sad story
how electricity is oil or uranium
and so forth I tell my grandson
run over to your grandpa ask him
to sit beside me for a minute I