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Reliquaries
Eric Pankey
$14.00 paperback
978-1-931337-12-0
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Reliquaries
Eric Pankey

Reliquaries, cousin and companion volume of Eric Pankey's Oracle Figures, is a book-length sequence of meditations on the complexities of memory. Its long, rangy lines fold and unfold, collecting and cataloging the relics of a life lived with extraordinary openness of perception and emotion. The result is poems that move like the surface of the ocean: fluid, powerful and ever-changing, yet always suggestive of a greater underlying order.

Originally drafted over a six-month period, the five-line sections of each poem in Reliquaries were written mostly as walking meditations in the hills and woods above and along the banks of the Occoquan River in Virginia. While that landscape is present in several places in the collection, the mind in these poems wanders arctic zones, England, Europe, the distances and openness of the American Midwest where the poet grew up, and takes up subjects such as the death of family and friends, faith and doubt, beauty and the sublime, philosophy and art. This book is Pankey's most expansive, accessible and wide-ranging to date. Written in long lines that, like Whitman's, catalog and collect, arrange out of the scattershot an order—even if only a momentary order, even if only a relic of order on which one places faith in a greater unifying order.

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For Reliquaries, Eric Pankey

"'Each yesterday glacier-scored, each a dark passage illumined by a honeycomb': Obviously, if you like your poems richly ornate, Pankey is your man. Here he examines all his yesterdays, reconstructing them in multi-layered language to create memories that are almost tactile."—Library Journal

"The entire book reads this way... sounding like an engaging litany of Whitmanesque oratorios."—Harvard Review

"These new poems are haunted by the old. There is, however, a grit to the beauties of Reliquaries. As Pankey's work has traded the tactics of transparent sincerity for manifest artifice, ironically, perhaps, his poems have increased in pathos. One feels in Reliquaries that one is in the presence of the confession, however gorgeously shaped. And gorgeous this book is as well as thoughtful. These are soliloquies of spiritual surrender addressed to the Thou, overheard by the reader. They are 'performances ravishing and spellbinding, flames let loose.'"—Lynn Emanuel

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