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Mercy Mercy Me Paperback – March 24, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This girl rocks the poetry boat."—Gerry Gomez Pearlberg


"The debut of a lucid, lusty new voice in American poetry. Honesty is her trademark, tempered by the rolling music of her voice. This book unveils the story of a vigorous soul’s journey in and out of love. Whether her speaker is buying lunch at a falafel stand or bumping into the ghost of Marvin Gaye in a supermarket, Georgiou’s zesty clarity prevails, sweetened by her impeccable ear and fired, as it always is, by her burning heart. A Cypriot by way of London, now happily a New Yorker, Georgiou fearlessly tackles the raw hungers of friendship and romance with a poetry of rare independence and vulnerability, sass, and sophistication."—Molly Peacock

From the Back Cover

"The debut of a lucid, lusty new voice in American poetry. Honesty is her trademark, tempered by the rolling music of her voice. This book unveils the story of a vigorous soul's journey in and out of love. Whether her speaker is buying lunch at a falafel stand or bumping into the ghost of Marvin Gaye in a supermarket, Georgiou's zesty clarity prevails, sweetened by her impeccable ear and fired, as it always is, by her burning heart. A Cypriot by way of London, now happily a New Yorker, Georgiou fearlessly tackles the raw hungers of friendship and romance with a poetry of rare independence and vulnerability, sass, and sophistication."-Molly Peacock
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; 1 edition (March 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0299186849
  • ISBN-13: 978-0299186845
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,147,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
MERCY MERCY ME is a book of poetry that deals with a poet's attempt at understanding the longitudinal lines of the soul as a country, the topography of which is comprised of her flesh. Here we find the author in the place between it all, the metaphysical zip code where the geography of the self lies.

Like the Marvin Gaye song used to inspire the collection of poems, Georgiou contemplates different kinds of environmental fallouts. But rather than answering Gaye's questions on "where did all the blue skies go?" she chooses instead to confront the more challenging relevance of "how much more abuse...can she stand?" Her examinations are ones directly pertaining to her ground, her ocean, her flora and fauna, the qualities of her existence that determine her perceptions of beauty and self-worth. When we read the lines, "...how lucky I was to be / able to wear my history like a map across my body" (68) we can see just how important the notion of terra firma - this quest for stability in unraveling the mystery of herself - is to her.

The setting for much of the work is distinctly urban, which accounts for this notion of an individual being enveloped by her environment. And it is a very real feeling for the reader, particularly in poems like "Bang", where the cycle of abuse has swelled into an almost manifest destiny demarcated by "red marks" on the body. Somehow this violence is lulled by the day-to-day life in the "overcrowded land" of the city, a scenario, as we are reminded by the poet, too many have chosen to disregard.

MERCY MERCY ME is a wonderfully intimate glimpse into Georgiou's world portrayed through the backdrop of her relationships. It is more than a statement on the necessity of mercy but also one of healing and is written with a sagacious intimacy not often found in modern collections attempting to confront similar irreconcilables of modernity.

© 2005-2006 Edward J. Carvalho (Originally posted on 1 November 2005)
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Format: Paperback
Unlike others, I'm initially struck not by this book's sexiness, but by its geography and demographic and how, like New York itself, this book manages to make the most distant places and disparate cultures feel local. More than poetic snapshots of (particularly Brooklyn) neighborhoods and areas (Crown Heights, Grand Army Plaza...) at the beginning of the 21st century, Georgiou's poems not only capture the multitudes, but speak from highly personal perspectives. Here is India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey, Israel, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean . . . squished into the subway car of the poet's heart. The sensuality of this book seems, to me, more a product of urban dynamics than of marketable "sexiness" (in fact, the speaker(s) of the poems seems more lonely than anything): here is intimacy and anonymity, belonging and alienation, any one person in a million people walking the streets or riding the train home--and hoping to find love, or settling for sex, along the way.

That said, yeah, this book may contain a few of the best "sex poems" in the English language. Here is the sex of prayer, and the prayer of sex. Sex with women. Sex with men. Sex and the president. Sex and fried chicken. It's regrettable that this Lamda Award-winning author's poems are being "reviewed" below by boys with internet access, rather than by the adults for which they were intended.

Speaking to the latter, I also highly recommend the book of lesbian and gay poets she co-edited, "The World In Us." It is a stunning collection--much like Georgiou's own.
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By A Customer on May 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This collection rocks the Richter scale of poetry. Georgiou's imagery is dazzling, her language sensual, her emotions fierce. She moves freely between a contemporary urban narrative and more ethereal matters-a chance encounter with Marvin Gaye's ghost, for example, is not merely plausible, but one of the sexiest love stories I've ever read. This poet is a mistress of vitality. Her poems are tiny monuments to lust, love, and those quiet moments in between. I doubt anyone will find them inaccessible. If you buy one book of poetry all year, make it this one.
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By A Customer on August 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is poetry to be read again and again. Her poetry is so honest, you'll feel naked reading it. I saw her at a poetry reading and I had to buy her book. Whenever I read her poetry I think of her deep British accent and I feel like I am back at that poetry reading. Her word selection is brilliant and so sincere. She holds nothing back and it is extremely refreshing to read her poems.
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Format: Paperback
I happened on this AMAZING book quite by accident...and could not have asked for a better chance meeting. Elena Georgiou's poetry literally smolders off the page, a supreme success in honest (and highly erotic) expression. When experiencing her poetry, the reader FEELS her words, her thoughts, her work the work of a truly passionate writer, whether the sentiment be personal frustration or sexual desire. A true testament to great writing...please, put down your damn Jewel "poetry" book and pick up something that will stay with you far beyond an initial reading. And hell, anyone who includes a poem with Marvin Gaye in it deserves at least a bit of your time!
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