Trace (back cover)


“Elegant, complex, and rigorously truthful.” —CHASE TWICHELL
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Eric Pankey’s arresting ninth collection of poems, Trace, sits at the threshold between faith and doubt—between the visible and the invisible, the sayable and the ineffable, the physical and the metaphysical.

In Trace, Pankey creates images of both stark beauty and stark truth. The skeleton of a burning home becomes a children’s drawing of a house. The waning moon wears a mask, sheds grit, disappears in “straw effigy.” And the departure of a loved one is compared to the retreat of a glacier—leaving behind an exposed and scarred speaker. As the collection progresses, it maps a journey into deep depression, confronting one man’s struggle to overcome that condition’s smothering weight and presence. With remarkable clarity and complexity, Trace also charts the poet’s attempt to be inspired, to breathe again, to give breath and life to words.

Ever solemn, ever existential, Pankey’s poems find us at our most vulnerable, the moment when we as humans—believers and nonbelievers alike—must ultimately pause to question the uncertain fate of our souls.

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5.5 × 8.5 × 0.25 in
4.3 oz
Eric Pankey

Eric Pankey is the author of numerous books of poems, most recently Augury and Crow-Work. His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared widely in such journals and anthologies as the New YorkerKenyon ReviewIowa Review, and Best American Poetry. He is a professor of English and the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University and resides in Fairfax, Virginia.

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