Books We’ve Loved

What Sparks Poetry is a serialized feature in which we invite poets to explore experiences and ideas that spark new poems.

In Books We’ve Loved, we asked our editorial board members to reflect on a book that has been particularly meaningful to them in the last year, with the intention of creating a list of book recommendations for our valued readers.

Eric Pankey on Jill Osier’s The Solace Is Not the Lullaby

Beyond the privilege, during the pandemic, of having a secure job, plenty of savings, a mortgage-free home, two grocery stores within walking distance, and my daughter and her family as neighbors, I have had the good fortune over the past forty-some years to have accumulated a rather large poetry library. In fact, just before the time of the bad germs, (as my four-year granddaughter calls our current predicament), I had thought seriously of culling the collection, getting rid of much of it in to lead a less dusty, more uncluttered life. I am glad I did not. Throughout the pandemic, I have spent much of my time rereading—going back to poets and reading their complete works, spending a long time with good and familiar friends as well as reacquainting myself with poets I had almost forgotten. During this time as well, I made my way through a large stack of new books, many of them first books. One first book I loved is Jill Osier’s The Solace Is Not the Lullaby, which Carl Phillips (one of the many poets whose complete works I have recently reread) choose for the Yale Series of Younger poets. Osier is a poet I have never met and about whom I know very little, but her poems are mysterious, rich in their clarity, uncanniness, and clairvoyance. Her work feels at once familiar and strange, and that quality has haunted me.

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Eric Pankey

Eric Pankey

Eric Pankey is the author of fourteen poetry collections and recently a collection of essays, Vestiges. A new collection of poems, Not Yet Transfigured is forthcoming in 2021 and a chapbookThe Future Perfect: A Fugue, which was selected by John Yau for the Tupelo Press Snowbound Chapbook Award, is forthcoming in 2022.