Air for Mercury Historical Context

Brenda Hillman
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Given the shifting quality of the poem, it is unclear when Hillman intended "Air for Mercury" to take place. She uses time-sensitive words such as "After" in the first line and "before" in the eleventh line, which indicate that she does have a time in mind, but these and other time-related words do not work together as a whole to give the reader a clear sense of time and place, and, as noted above, Hillman seems to take a long historical view when discussing religion, going back as far as classical Greek and Roman times, and as far forward as modern day. Yet, Hillman seems to use this indeterminate setting for a reason to reinforce the underlying concept of change. As the poet herself notes of Cascadia in an online interview with Poets & Writers magazine, "It is conglomerate and metamorphic in that it seems like a gathering...

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This section contains 816 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Air for Mercury Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Air for Mercury from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.