Vestiges: Notes, Responses, & Essays 1988–2018

SKU: 978-1-64317-105-0

Eric Pankey

Illuminations: A Series on American Poetics
Series Editor: Jon Thompson, North Carolina State University

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978-1-64317-105-0 (paperback; $14.99); 978-1-64317-106-7 (PDF on CD, $14.00) © 2019 by Parlor Press. 103 pages with bibliography.

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What People Are Saying

“If only words were salt—soluble, savory, vital, electric,” Eric Pankey writes in “Variations on Hadrian’s Animula,” one of many virtuosic works in Vestiges: Notes, Responses, and Essays 1988 – 2018. In this diverse collection of lyrical prose, Pankey assays his personal-poetic history with passion, brilliance, and grace. He considers the works of many great poets—Dickinson, Stevens, Donne, Hopkins, Merwin, Justice, Levis, and Lorca, to name just a few—invoking them as teachers and guides. As much about language as the unutterable, sight as the unseen, Vestiges is a gorgeous, vital collection. —Danielle  Cadena  Deulen, author of  The Riots

Vestiges: Notes, Responses, and Essays 1988 – 2018 maps the mind of one of our best lyrical poets and thinkers. In these concise and nuanced works of prose, Eric Pankey meditates on such subjects as spiritual faith, the poetic image, memory, language, duende, and silence in poetry. Pankey is a quester, a searcher for truth, so it’s no surprise that in Vestiges he eschews nailed-down arguments and grand arrivals, prioritizing the question and the journey towards “the unsayable, the untouchable . . . the unknowable.” He reminds us that mystery and uncertainty are not weaknesses, but essential aspects of a life lived richly in both art and faith. —Brian Barker, author of Vanishing Acts

Eric Pankey muses, “What is the divine? How is it made manifest? Where does it reside?” Revisiting the lyric impulse in a post-religious generation, Vestiges ponders the Romantic lyric subject in light of postmodern skepticism with allusions to Biblical contexts, illuminating the phenomenon of wonder in a material yet epistemologically unstable world: “In the lyric, language is both the ritual and the sacrifice at the moment’s altar.” Guided by an inner compass of memory and desire, psalms and lamentations, restoration and revival, we unearth in ourselves “not a spark, but a splinter of God in each of us, inflamed, working its way to the surface.” This book, a revitalizing act of faith and inspiration, is a marvelous gift to us. —Karen An-hwei Lee, author of Phyla of Joy

About the Author

Eric Pankey is the author of ten previous collections of poetry, including most recently Alias: Prose Poems. Dismantling the Angel (2014) received the New Measure Poetry Prize. His work has been supported by fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Brown Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is Professor of English and the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where he teaches in the MFA and BFA programs in Creative Writing.


Acknowledgments | To Repair the Material of Experience | Silences and Forgeries | The Word | A Forgotten Language | The Image | Variations on the Meditative Mode | Variations on Hadrian’s Animula | An Amnesiac’s Meditation on Memory | The Work of Poetry or an Imaginary Plane of Glass | Parallel to Sea Level | Vestiges | Psalm and Lament | Object Permanence | Four Short Essays | Ars Poetica | Duende and Gravity | On the Occasion of the Release of the Senate Torture | Report | The Form of a Walk | Ideal Proportions | Among Thorns: Drafts and Fragments | A Concordance of Silences | About the Author

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