Fall 2014 • Vol. XXXVI No. 4 Nonfiction |

Mercury’s Passage: Poetry, Fracture, and the Talking Cure

And he still hawks poems like news, as welcome in heaven as in hell.   —Austin Hummell, "Mercury" Mercury walks, if he walks, in either world, the highest and the lowest. Wing-footed and hard to predict, he moves from Olympus to the underworld and back with the freedom of unbridled imagination. A god of contradictions, he serves as a messenger between opposites, as the patron deity of commerce, travel, eloquence, negotiation, thievery, and deceit, and so facilitates exchange of both goods and information. As god of opposites and the force that would connect them, it seems somehow appropriate that his caduceus resonates as an emblem of healing. Likewise it seems appropriate that this interpretation of the caduceus came by way of mistaken association with another symbol, the rod of Asclepius, which might recommend him as a kind of god of free association, a god of fortuitous mistakes, a god of the poetic. In short, he is mercurial, and therein lies his power to adapt and el

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Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-one books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way Books, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), and Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.

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