Composed in the direct, accessible, consciousness-piercing style of which readers of Ariana Reines’ first two books are wildly enamored, 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 explores this in contexts including commercial cinema, the nation-state, currency, alchemy, and internet porn.
“An (al)chymical wedding raises two bonded souls from the dross of common affection. In these times, finding the marriage of souls unlikely or impossible or simply a source of unconsummated yearning, Ariana Reines unforgettably attempts the bonding of mind and body, body and soul, attempts the magic formula that changes lead into gold, to turn the partitioned creature into a celestial whole.
Reines discovers that the poetry for this task “is not made of words,” and so she works with spell and symbol to practice the lost art that will transmute the world. If this seems easy to say, it requires a great deal of art to accomplish, and Mercury is a great and painful work of art.”
—Michael Silverblatt, Bookworm, KCRW Public Radio