H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S 

Star- Blind In The Family

of Fortune Keepers

​Cover Art: Catalin Precup

Publication date : February 2017

Pages : 28

​Hand sewn, open edition


M E L I S S A   A T K I N S O N   M E R C E R


Melissa Atkinson Mercer is the author of the poetry collection Saint of the
Partial Apology (Five Oaks Press, 2017) as well as four poetry chapbooks,
including After the Miracle Season (ELJ Editions, 2017) and My Own Strange
Beast (Porkbelly Press, 2017). Her work has recently appeared in Blue Earth
Review, Storm Cellar, Zone 3, Literary Orphans
, and others. She has an MFA
from West Virginia University, where she won the Russell MacDonald
Creative Writing Award in Poetry. She currently lives deep in the Tennessee


Please note: For every copy of this chapbook purchased, Hermeneutic Chaos Press will donate

$1 to the Parkinson Foundation.

By Melissa Atkinson Mercer

In Star-Blind In the Family Of Fortune Keepers, Melissa Atkinson Mercer turns to a world  that is fantastic, surreal and  mystic, and buries its roots in the secrets of blood and bone.  The poems take the readers through chambers of ​ a familial memory that is not afraid to wear its story. This is a collection drenched in the music of a language of subtle, wise colors that reveals a powerful narrative of the ways in which we can inhabit the white spaces in our real stories.


These poems, by Melissa Atkinson Mercer, are brave, original, and shake loose many truths that leave us a little wiser, significantly softened, and more keenly sighted. The fluidity of her syntax moves the reader seamlessly through her poems as she transforms the sometimes painful terrain of life into landscapes of beauty and comfort. Every aspect of Mercerʼs work is weaved together with virtuosity but it is impossible to read even a single poem without being especially transported by the imagery. It is the live palette of the images, more than anything else, that compel and evoke and uncover, as if weʼve seen both the external world and internal ones in a brand new way. Once so vividly seen, this “family of fortune keepers” is not forgotten. These poems permeated: the poet “sang as they entered and crawled deep.

-  Sara Kearns

Melissa Atkinson Mercer’s poems feel like gifts, songs otherwise unheard excavated from some place deep—in the earth, in a loved one, in the sea, in the sky (amid the “fish-scaled fog”)—with a lantern working through the dark held by a hand already luminous.  Who knew the moon could be in someone’s hand, or eyes such that she sees and shows how articulating what’s most real requires the mythological.  These poems go right to the bone.  Each one seems to say, “I have something to tell you,” with urgent intimacy, and then does.  To tell the story of a grandmother, there are bees, creeks, ghosts, fish, prophets, dusk, hunger, and through each, a voice loving and deeply attuned to the way the world holds its beauty and pain.  The heart is so big in these compact poems that often those in them have more than one.  These poems don’t just illumine the depth of a heart, they also deepen it.

-  Rebecca Doverspike


She asks all day do I love her

while men dark with cold raise lanterns in the apple trees.
While groups of rabbits in the damp pink field.
While doubt's curled teeth.
Her mouth is loud with clocks. She's trapping demons in the mice box.
She's draining the sink of its sugar. In her youth,
she tells me, she lost sight. Took wolves with her through the thorn fields,
wandered into land and water, knowing not one
from the other. She will tear out my eyes.
She will wrap them in pale silk. She will hush them, song and sleep.