Mercurial (Paperback)

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Poetry. African & African American Studies. MERCURIAL is the latest collection of poems from Allison Joseph: always accessible, musical, full of hard-earned wisdom, sass, and courage. Joseph writes about everyday situations in deft, heartfelt poems that span the spectrum of poetic ambition-free verse narrative, short lyrics, traditional rhyming forms and topical meditations. She is a poet of song and strut, an ambassador for the written word's deviations and variations, a conversationalist who just happens to speak in rhyme and meter. Readers of this book will encounter a woman who's not afraid to be herself even if that self is ever-changing, ever- evolving.

"Reading the aptly titled MERCURIAL is like having a long and eclectic conversation with an old friend whom Henry James would have called 'a woman on whom nothing is lost.' While clear thematic threads interweave the poems in the collection Joseph's women are strong and unconventional, surmounting difficult circumstances and rejecting male stereotypes Joseph also inspects quirkier topics with a tongue- in-cheek gravity. Where else would you find a poem entitled 'Self Portrait as Small Town Bus Depot?' Joseph, a mistress of the sonnet form, demonstrates in these poems that her sassy, distinctive voice is equally at home not only in free verse but also in complex forms such as the villanelle and the rondeau redouble. But most importantly, these are poems that take center stage with the confidence of a talent honed to perfection, needing no permission to revel in their self-assurance: 'A woman in a red dress / is lighting her skin from/within.'" Anna Evans

"In MERCURIAL, the poet Allison Joseph explores those most vital journeys that make us human. More than that, the poems in this collection help us find the backroads to what is necessary in order to examine our own lives. In these works, Joseph rips the lid off social expectations and body image. She eloquently describes the difficult conversations we must have about women and our bodies. From a letter to her metabolism, to what it means to be 'skinny', the metaphors will resonate for a long time to come. The poetry pays homage to her beginnings in the North Bronx, to her hard working mother, and the much needed exploration of racial issues in our society. This collection is brimming with images that will remain in the deepest caves of our psyche. As Joseph says, you will revisit the 'obsidian joy you've found beneath the tips of our own palms, your own fingers.'" Connie Post

"In MERCURIAL, Allison Joseph contends with issues of control and its lack from the girl whose father 'commands her / ... voice terse // as a strikeout, ' to the street harassment of women who 'haven't done // a thing except remain where I belong, ' to anorexics who 'exercise e] through all hunger pains.' 'My enemy is the stop sign, ' she asserts as she yearns from escape from strictures imposed on her body: metabolism, high blood pressure, beauty expectations. But when you realize through this deft collection of odes, sonnets, and villanelles that she has always been the one in control, when she tells you 'I am your one way out of / this place, so you better listen, ' you grab this book and hang on." Heidi Czerwiec.

Praise For…


Reading the aptly titled "Mercurial" is like having a long and eclectic conversation with an old friend whom Henry James would have called “a woman on whom nothing is lost.” While clear thematic threads interweave the poems in the collection — Joseph’s women are strong and unconventional, surmounting difficult circumstances and rejecting male stereotypes — Joseph also inspects quirkier topics with a tongue-in-cheek gravity. Where else would you find a poem entitled “Self Portrait as Small Town Bus Depot?” Joseph, a mistress of the sonnet form, demonstrates in these poems that her sassy, distinctive voice is equally at home not only in free verse but also in complex forms such as the villanelle and the rondeau redouble. But most importantly, these are poems that take center stage with the confidence of a talent honed to perfection, needing no permission to revel in their self-assurance: “A woman in a red dress/is lighting her skin from/within.” — Anna Evans

In “Mercurial”, the poet Allison Joseph explores those most vital journeys that make us human. More than that, the poems in this collection help us find the backroads to what is necessary in order to examine our own lives. In these works, Joseph rips the lid off social expectations and body image. She eloquently describes the difficult conversations we must have about women and our bodies. From a letter to her metabolism, to what it means to be “skinny”, the metaphors will resonate for a long time to come. The poetry pays homage to her beginnings in the North Bronx, to her hard working mother, and the much needed exploration of racial issues in our society. This collection is brimming with images that will remain in the deepest caves of our psyche. As Joseph says, you will revisit the “obsidian joy you’ve found beneath the tips of our own palms, your own fingers. “ – Connie Post, author of “Floodwater” winner of the 2014 Lyrebird Award

In "Mercurial", Allison Joseph contends with issues of control and its lack – from the girl whose father “commands her/…voice terse// as a strikeout,” to the street harassment of women who “haven’t done// a thing except remain where I belong,” to anorexics who “exercise[e] through all hunger pains.” “My enemy is the stop sign,” she asserts as she yearns from escape from strictures imposed on her body: metabolism, high blood pressure, beauty expectations. But when you realize through this deft collection of odes, sonnets, and villanelles that she has always been the one in control, when she tells you “I am your one way out of/ this place, so you better listen,” you grab this book and hang on. -- Heidi Czerwiec, author of "Sweet/Crude: A Bakken Boom Cycle"
Product Details
ISBN: 9781936419647
ISBN-10: 1936419645
Publisher: Mayapple Press
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2016
Pages: 40
Language: English

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