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4.24  ·  Rating details ·  459 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Composed in the direct, accessible, consciousness-piercing style readers of Ariana Reines’ first two books are wildly enamored of, Mercury comprises a group of long poems. These interlocking works speak to the substance and essence of what is said, transmitted, transacted, "communicated" between persons. Reines proposes that substance and essence are opposites, and explore ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by Fence Books (first published October 13th 2011)
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4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  459 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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JSA Lowe
Jan 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Scathingly ambitious—repeatedly, deliberately mawkish and cunning and innocent—and obsessed with assfucking. Reines's work is singular, perfectly Not What You Learned in MFA School, studded with grotesquerie and high sentimentality and arch intellectual clunkiness, it does not Belong, it is Other, it is part of the non-tradition or anti-poetic this writer almost picked up from Norman Dubie, the crazy-fou Beat/NY/Blake vein of American lyric, and I don't think even Ashbery grasps the nettle with ...more
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
So much to say about the experience of reading this, but to do so seems to run counter to the spirit of its searchingness, which actually left me feeling very still and quiet and very alive and not in need of so many words.

I gravitated especially profoundly toward the conversation with the Sun at the end of "Leaves" and in the interaction of art/memory/text/family in the final piece.

I really, really, really loved this book. You should just read it.
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
sexual oversharing and internet bullshit work to the poet's advantage here. this book is magic.
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think this book really is a wonderful and admirable work as one whole entity. There are some aspects I can't fully get on board with, like all the cocks and all the butt-plugs. I mean, SOME cocks and butt-plugs, sure.
Mary K
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Could all the women everywhere get down on our knees and scream
No fuck it let's run
We will tear statesmen apart with our bare hands
You think I'm joking?
You can come
Jul 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, poetry
Not to judge a book by its cover, but Mercury's is too glorious to ignore: encased in a glossy silver mirror, it reflects back a distorted image of your face, grotesque and beautiful and dream-like all at once. It's fragile, this cover, easily smudged and scratched by careless fingers. Of course, alchemy takes place in a controlled setting. Once you leave the laboratory, attempt to show off the green lion with his ferocious appetite or share the crystalline delicacy of the arbor philosophorum, a ...more
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Everything has form.
You have form you asshole.
You have form you fucking asshole.

I think the above quote is wonderfully characteristic of the style and voice at work in this book. Simple, brilliant, profane, funny, wonderful. I don't know enough about poetry to give it a proper review but here's what I do know:

- This book (and it is a book--not merely a "collection", but a group of connected, self-refferential poems) is about alchemy, love, abjection, genitalia, oral sex, anal sex, metamorphoses
Jacob Wren
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Give up the habit of weeping for yourself, says the woman to the man with the malady of death in the novel by Marguerite Duras.

The sex parts of good books are usually the worst parts, that is too bad about good books.

Some bad books have good sex in them. And sex that I can see is somebody else's.

I want to have the sex that's mine, that sex that I have, okay.

Time to tell the difference between what's emitted and what's left over and what was there in the first place.

Apr 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
On first read Reines comes across as perhaps the greatest charlatan in contemporary poetry. Upon subsequent readings, however, her poems reveal themselves as wholly complex, innovative and mature.
Nov 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It's complicated...
Mar 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Poetry bundles, like short story anthologies, are difficult to rate because there are brilliant parts and less-brilliant parts, or at least parts I didn't appreciate quite as much. One poem in this bundle, "Save the World" (which is 64 pages long), was so stunning/innovative I was tempted to give the whole thing a four- or five-star rating.
But no, I restrained myself. There are 172 other pages, and among them, a good many quizzical moments. I can't say I really liked the whole bundle, but in it,
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Separated into five equally well wrought sections of vastly different foci, Mercury is much like the compound: liquid, surprising, ever changing. And Reines's use of repetition was, for me, one of the best structural components of the collection. She has a natural ease with language that recreates the inner monologue in a way I found both startling and satisfying. A book to suckle as much as read.
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, favorites
- the front & back cover is silver, a mirror (surprised me)
- a spell book, I saw the word alchemical, "cosmic willingness" 100%
- basically I loved this + would rather discuss it outside of this review box, so
- the end
Isadora Goudsblom
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
"For the people who love to laugh" indeed.
Daniel Pope
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holy shit.
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-poetry
Shell Frain
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Ambitious. Amazing.
May 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
this is by far the shiniest book i own
Stephanie L.
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A phenomenal work by my favorite contemporary poet. A powerhouse of energy that tows the line between raw and perfectly in control.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, poetry
settle in. and buckle up.
Rachel burns
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There is nothing I can possibly say to properly describe the power of mercury. Alchemy, syntax, imagery, & pure genius fucked, & birthed Ariana Reines while she was manically writing this book.
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poems
"I hear a finch / With a throat like shucking corn." pg. 24
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was very impressed by ariana's language, wit and person in this collection of poetry.

It mixes the sincere with the mythical with the popular with the never ending with the problems in the world

I can have a hard time holding my concentration when reading poetry, but with this read everything very well balanced, narrated and followed through. Elements reappearing. Emotions changing, doubts consistent.

I was especially fond of the beginning og the 4th part Mercury were somehow a spell or chant g
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: for-school
not for me but keep in mind I’m a moron
Alejandro Saint-Barthélemy
I let a skinny man/ Put his long thick dick in me for you/ So we could break our hearts.

A romantic poet don't talk like that, and God knows that a femme fatale don't think of broken hearts.

The reason why I think Ariana Reines has made it (many [poetry!] books by her with ~600 reviews seems pretty accomplished to me):
poetry for lukewarm contemporary it gurls: not too romantic (so old-fashioned, grrls, amirite) not too "femme fatale" either (what is she g
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Sometimes it happens
We find ourselves in these places
Consumers of ideals
Some of which have form
A coral shirt and exposed shoulder
All of which


People watching a shitty movie
There are ideas


Oh I remember in the morning
You were in the tub reading The Waste Land
And then I left
You typed "free tub porn"
In Google
So maybe


Suppose this were not a book

Suppose it were a boat

What then

Do I love you

Is the evil in my heart

Or in my hand when I smoke

Blots out the sun?

Do I love you?

It is Wednesday.


It is
Jan 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A really strange book. It's rare I can sit down and read a book of poetry instead of preferring to read poems one at a time, spaced out, but this one was okay to sit down and read. I liked the first section the most and felt it was most successful. It made me feel awful, but because a lot of it rang so true, especially the parts about misogyny. The title of the volume, Mercury, felt really apt. It brings to my mind ideas about fluidity and change in people, which I felt some of the poems really ...more
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was ok
a few moments of brilliance, but the rest is like reading someone's diary with nothing i care to read about.
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5??? 4???? i dont know. poetry is hard to rate in stars.
Jul 03, 2012 marked it as abandoned
not my style
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Ariana Reines is the author of The Cow (Alberta Prize, FenceBooks: 2006), Coeur de Lion (Mal-O-Mar: 2007; Fence: 2011), and MERCURY (Fence: forthcoming fall 2011), plus the LP/audiobook SAVE THE WORLD starring Lili Taylor (Fence: forthcoming spring 2011).

Volumes of translation include My Heart Laid Bare by Charles Baudelaire, (Mal-O-Mar:2009), The Little Black Book of Grisélidis Réal: Days and Ni
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It's no good knowing something
When all the men for twenty years as God is my witness
Can't walk without one hand on their junk yelling

At me and owning me whenever they say so
Whatever I say I am to myself in their street
Where they are the crowd and the power. Today I look like

I love myself more than you Mister love yourself
For once. I shit on what I cherish
Most as fast as I can so you won't get to it first.”
More quotes…