Emblem

£8.00

Lucy Mercer

In stock

‘These are surreal, startling poems that shift our understanding of what language might be able to express.’
The Guardian

‘Mercer presses upon language in such a way as to make it shimmer, or blink, or stagger. … It’s an enormously satisfying collection, each poem singing on its own and speaking to the others as they go.’
Edwina Attlee, Poetry Review

‘Mercer’s Emblem is less interested in stable moral meanings … than in moments of uncertainty and unsettled perception… There is a Rorschach quality to these poems. … Mercer follows the nudges of the unconscious wherever they lead, to thrilling effect.’
Sarah Howe, PBS Summer Bulletin

The Poetry Book Society Summer 2022 Choice

Emblem is the debut collection from Lucy Mercer, winner of the inaugural White Review Poet’s Prize. Emblem revitalises this forgotten hybrid form in the present as a frame to contemplate the obscurities of motherhood, faith and the interior.

In ghostly conversation with the sixteenth-century emblematist Andrea Alciato – a witness to a lonely time – the poems are carried forward by a non-linear dream logic of metaphor and similitude, speaking pictures who remain silent and a focus on an adjacent imaginal world. As well as reusing images from Alciato’s emblem book, the poems fixate on alternating relations between text and image that blur into relations between mind and body, child and mother, red and green, past and present, public and private, the living and the dead.

Listen to Lucy discuss and read from the collection on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb.

A limited edition poster poem, produced by The Aleph, was produced in an edition 50 copies, and is now sold out.

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Description

The Poetry Book Society Summer 2022 Choice

Emblem is the debut collection from Lucy Mercer, winner of the inaugural White Review Poet’s Prize. Emblem revitalises this forgotten hybrid form in the present as a frame to contemplate the obscurities of motherhood, faith and the interior.

In ghostly conversation with the sixteenth-century emblematist Andrea Alciato – a witness to a lonely time – the poems are carried forward by a non-linear dream logic of metaphor and similitude, speaking pictures who remain silent and a focus on an adjacent imaginal world. As well as reusing images from Alciato’s emblem book, the poems fixate on alternating relations between text and image that blur into relations between mind and body, child and mother, red and green, past and present, public and private, the living and the dead.

‘Lucy Mercer’s Emblem is a spell and at the center of this spell is the body of the mother, the son, domestic life, nature, and a lucid knowledge of our private lives. A steady hand casts this spell and by the end of the book we, its readers, are transformed.’ – Matthew Dickman

‘Here is a dream within a dream, a soul within a soul, a book folding and unfolding within a book. In this beautiful, inventive collection, Lucy Mercer explores the boundaries of living, thinking and mothering through our strange days. Reaching back into history for a long-abandoned emblem book, she invites us to look with wonder again and again: What is it we see? What can it mean? What do we believe in a world of endless mystery and transformation?’ – Liz Berry

 

Lucy Mercer’s poems have been published widely in magazines and anthologies. She was awarded the inaugural White Review Poet’s Prize. She recently completed a PhD in which she developed a speculative theory of emblems. She teaches creative writing at Goldsmiths.

 

Read a sample: Lucy Mercer_Emblem_website sample