What Sparks Poetry

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’ve asked our editorial board members and select guest editors 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) chose 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.

Writing Prompt

Eric Pankey highlights Jill Osier’s clarity and strangeness. Write a poem that describes a strange scene with clarity.

Poetry Daily

Share This Post

Print This Post

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.