Eric Pankey

  Books

 

Augury (Milkweed Editions 2017)

Crow-Work  (Milkweed Editions 2015)

Dismantling the Angel (Free Verse Editions 2014)

Trace (Milkweed Editions 2013)

The Pear as One Example: New and Selected Poems (Ausable Press 2008)

Reliquaries (Ausable Press 2005)

Oracle Figures (Ausable Press 2003)

Cenotaph (Alfred A. Knopf 2000)

The Late Romances (Alfred A. Knopf 1997)

Apocrypha (Alfred A. Knopf 1991)

Heartwood (Atheneum 1988) (reissued Orchises Press 1998)

For the New Year (Atheneum 1984)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Praise for Eric Pankey’s recent books:

 

“Eric Pankey’s sensibility is an unerringly generous one: he is always willing to step first onto unsteady ground, to test it for those who might follow. The poems of Crow-Work, like good gleaners, seek out possibility and sustenance. They are skilled, deft, and dazzlingly alert. Just when I think they have brought me as close as possible to the dark and unknowable things that make awe possible, they bring me closer. The journey is unnerving, intimate, and thrilling.”

—Mary Szybist

 

“Eric Pankey is a poet of precise observation and startling particularities. His wisdom, sometimes sidelong, sometimes direct, both knows and feels. The soundcraft is superb, the modes of investigation by turns lyrical, surreal, meditative, allegorical, direct-speaking, and allusive."

—Jane Hirshfield

 

“In this age of both religious extremism and cynical atheism, Eric Pankey’s poems gleam with authenticity. From his earliest work, his abiding interest has been in probing the place where human consciousness confronts what lies outside of our understanding. The poems are prayers sent into the unknown, for ‘one must penetrate the invisible to reside in the visible.’ One of their great pleasures is the door through which Pankey enters the mysteries: the natural world, with which he has profound intimacy. In language that is always elegant, complex, and rigorously truthful, he transfixes us with glimpses of what we can never fully know. Trace is a brilliant furthering of this mission.”

—Chase Twichell  

 

“The poems in Eric Pankey’s Trace come together to create a landscape both melancholy and utterly beautiful, balancing a careful awareness of the ‘once and the to be, / the frost-gnawed grain.’ Tracing the spiritual as he senses it move through the natural world, he reminds us again and again that to ‘occupy a space is to shape it,’ and the shaping of experience becomes finally the shaping of the page in language brilliantly wrought. Trace is Eric Pankey at his finest.”

—Claudia Emerson

 

"Eric Pankey’s poems in Augury manage the almost impossible task of invoking the stillness that exists within movement. This renders the poems marvelously meditative, no matter their topical content, because everything in them is brought to exist in a kind of space between perception and what is perceived, a space made somehow sacred by Pankey’s refusal to privilege one over the other, allowing both to simply be. The result is an unusually quiet and masterful work."

--Christopher Howell

 

"In the ancient world there were manuals of prophecies to help interpret the mystifying words of the Oracle; embedded in the poems almost all knew, hid the codes to interpret the intentions of the gods—flight of hawk and eagle, appearance of snake, color of liver and tangles of intestine all spoke of what would happen, all sung to teach us what we do not know. Eric Pankey’s Augury knows those manuals have been lost, knows those rites of prophecy no longer work, not in the same way—he knows just as deeply that the desperate want for the world to speak its secrets still defines our condition. We have still this expectation of light to come, and in that light, a kind of revelation in which the old desire might be fulfilled: the want to read the world. “The purpose of a well-made tool is that it eases and lightens the work,” he writes, and the poet’s tool is the poem. These pages are marked by the startling confidence of one who knows he does not know, who “at a loss for words,” responds by writing poems. There is no more audacious act; there is no work more humble. Pankey writes poems that give us back, if not the world, our relation to it—where we can learn from what resists understanding, where even withholding reveals, where the future includes all the past, and though the mind might be obliterated by the light it seek it seeks it still, in the ruins and in the orchard."

--Dan Beachy-Quick

 

"Pankey remains one of our leading practitioners of the metaphysical poem."

--C. Dale Young

 

"In these precise, dream-like poems, Eric Pankey peers through the clarifying lens of metaphor and parable to meditate on mystery, human sympathy and the divine.  Here, the shifting image of fire both articulates and consumes our sense of the vastness of history and the ineffable nature of divinity.   Elsewhere, a lemon, “transformed by one’s attention to it, is a spark pent up in a barn, is long shadows on a glacier. The lemon waits to be recognized like the inscrutable event of a miracle.” Or later, writing on complexities of compassion, Pankey describes a fox, terrified and snarling in a Havahart trap: “I had to shake him out of the cage with more violence than I’d have preferred.” With Dismantling the Angel, Eric Pankey shows once more why he is one of the American poets I admire most.  These are such deeply moving, humane, and thoughtful poems. "

 —Kevin Prufer

 

“This is important, thus I repeat myself,” insists the speaker in the title poem of Eric Pankey’s Dismantling the Angel. And repeat himself he does. As he should, shuddering out such elusive and luminous sentences as “The fire retains only its shape, its shifting, ambiguous, wind-shredded shape.” As he should, since his poems, more than anyone else’s, take the shape of fire, all its ambiguity and wind-shreddedness, all its likeness to poppies in the wheat.

--H. L. Hix

 

 

"The clarity, intellectual heft, structure, poise, formal dexterity, and music. . . Pankey has become a poet of formidable skill and achievement."

—Brian Henry

 

"Marked by an intriguing dialectic of owning and debt, of fullness and absence, of receptiveness and inability, these intense, thoughtful poems trace an arduous spiritual “pilgrimage” of the highest metaphysical order." —John Taylor

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