Publisher: Half Mystic Press
ISBN 10: 1948552000
ISBN 13: 978-1948552004
In this fiercely musical, highly anticipated debut release from Half Mystic Press, Melissa Atkinson Mercer interrogates the width, weight, and wholeness of depression, calling out to a self reflected back as monster, as myth, as song and water and tongue. Knock asks us to consider the complications of gender and voice: who gets to speak, who gets listened to, whose stories turn to fact and whose to fiction. Unflinching and tender, this book reminds us what it takes to navigate the mind’s dark seas and come out alive.
The incantatory poems in Melissa Atkinson Mercer’s Knock “speak miracle and rage,” insistent as daybreak or high tide. These poems are reclamation spells that celebrate and reassemble the untamed, the “witch heart,” the “undarkened bell” of speech: where “mountains are the tongues of women buried for the sin of lust” and “the sea is the tongue of the woman who loved kings.” As elegiac as it is visionary, this collection invokes a “matriarchal oath” to bless the darkness inside and around us. —Emari DiGiorgio, author of The Things a Body Might Become and Girl Torpedo
Melissa Atkinson Mercer’s Knock is a stunning and startling exploration of sorrow and of strength. This book is both the myth of creation and of apocalypse, of how we are built and how we are destroyed. The stakes are high in these poems: “which story will you believe”, we’re asked, “the one where they died / or the one where they died differently”. Mercer gives us both, but in a new language, the language of dismissed goddesses hoping to find homes for their silenced tongues, and her poems refuse to choose for us. These poems sing as they disturb, they fly while they allow their speakers to drown, and they call us to make sense of a senseless world while reminding us it didn’t have to be so senseless. “what use is a tongue like mine” – one need only read Knock to find the answer, and what a glorious and impressive answer it is. —Anthony Frame, author of Where Wind Meets Wing and editor of Glass Poetry Press
The haunting and lucid speakers in Melissa Atkinson Mercer’s Knock are at once testimonial, song and portent to the psyche’s anguished interiors, “We woke in the wet black heat / to the sad song our mother knew.” Mercer deftly crafts this maternal lineage with an authentic connection to all the vernaculars of language, palpably casting a light on the impediments of the mind. Mercer’s incantations are arresting at every turn—as the poet confronts each threshold with an uncanny sense of observation, so pristinely rendering the dualities of our enigmatic natures, “The world was a small, dark shape & we entered it.” Artful, fierce and lyrical, these poems cast a spell on the reader indelibly. This book took me hostage, released me more alive and enlightened. —Cynthia Atkins, author of In the Event of Full Disclosure
"Before fire was ever fire ... there was just this," and these poems. Melissa Atkinson Mercer's poetry riles, rich with magic and music. With the keen eye of an imagist, the poet welcomes us into a rich and raw new perspective of a familiar world. Capturing the form of interrogation, Knock asks what it means to define, to be defined. What good is naming, the poet asks, when the world has no interest in a complicated answer? Knock integrates found text into the confessional mode, confronting depression and suicide without apology. "I lean toward the difficult," our speaker assures us. ”I have something to say." Musical and elusive, she won't be silenced. —Stacey Balkun, author of Jackalope-Girl Learns to Speak and Lost City Museum
About the Author
Melissa Atkinson Mercer is the author of the full-length poetry collection Saint of the Partial Apology (Five Oaks Press, 2017) as well as five chapbooks. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Moon City Review, Zone 3, Blue Earth Review, and A Portrait in Blues: An Anthology of Identity, Gender and Bodies, among others. She has an MFA from West Virginia University, where she won the Russell MacDonald Creative Writing Award in Poetry. She currently works and teaches at Lees-McRae College.