Cenotaph is the third panel in a triptych of books that began with Apocrypha and continued with The Late Romances. All contain poems "stained with grief," as Pamela Alexander described Pankey's work in the Boston Book Review -- grief for the passing of the poet's parents, of his teachers and friends, and of his own once-held belief.
Pankey's poetry vibrates with a deep and delicate musicality. The natural world that sustains and buries us here becomes refracted into an intricate web of glinting, harrowing light, into words circumscribing absence. Jeff Hamilton said in Delmar that Pankey's eschatological poems are written from the "vantage of the lapsed sublime."
In these extraordinary poems of spiritual crisis, gravity and grace, sacred and profane love, the mythic and the heirloom, are all confronted at the open threshold of an empty tomb -- the cenotaph -- where doubt, not faith, awaits.
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"At a crossroads between lyrical formalism and jazzy modulations akin to the best of Charles Wright, almost every poem of Pankey's fifth collection reads as a kind of ars poetica . . . Pankey's spiritual investigations embody a wide array of musical influences, from traditional hymns to contemporary folk songs."
-- Publishers Weekly
"Ambitious in their juxtapositions of words and images, the poems in Pankey's fifth volume continue to reveal his dedication to craft. Their lyric quality lies in the assonance and alliteration, which create a unique tempo and rhythm . . . Pankey's poems, whether lyric or prose, are touching, sincere, and sublime and work well as a whole."
-- Library Journal
"The cenotaph is the perfect figure for these 'elegiac variations' by Eric Pankey--variations of elegance, even stateliness, that stand for qualities of craft and metaphysical insight that have become the poet's standard. Pankey is one of the quiet poets, given to the graces of beautiful, rendered writing burdened by the consciousness that words are never enough. Thus Pankey is one of the honest poets."
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Book Description Knopf, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0375407642
Book Description Knopf, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110375407642
Book Description Knopf. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0375407642 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1927204