Pankey, Eric 1959-

views updated

Pankey, Eric 1959-


Born February 25, 1959, in Kansas City, MO; son of James A. (an accountant) and Frances (an accountant) Pankey; married Jennifer Atkinson (a writer and editor), July 6, 1985. Ethnicity: "White/non-Hispanic." Education: University of Missouri at Columbia, B.S., 1981; University of Iowa, M.F.A., 1983.


Office—Department of English, George Mason University, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, VA 22030-4444. E-mail—[email protected].


Linn-Mar Community Schools, Marion, IA, teacher, 1983-86; Washington University, St. Louis, MO, director of Master of Fine Arts program, 1987-96; George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, associate professor, 1996-97, professor of English, 1997—, holder of Heritage Chair in Writing, 2006—.


Walt Whitman Award, Academy of American Poets, 1984, for For the New Year; fellowships from Ingram Merrill Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and Guggenheim Foundation.



For the New Year, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1984.

Heartwood, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1988.

Apocrypha, Knopf (New York, NY), 1991.

The Late Romances, Knopf (New York, NY), 1997.

Cenotaph, Knopf (New York, NY), 2000.

Oracle Figures, Ausable Press (Keene, NY) 2003.

Reliquaries, Ausable Press (Keene, NY), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Kenyon Review, Iowa Review, Antioch Review, New Yorker, and Ironwood.


Eric Pankey is a highly regarded American poet. A Publishers Weekly reviewer placed Pankey's work "at a crossroads between lyrical formalism and jazzy modulations akin to the best of Charles Wright." According to Library Journal correspondent Tim Gavin, Pankey's poems "reveal his dedication to craft" and are "touching, sincere, and sublime." In her New Leader essay on The Late Romances, Phoebe Pettingell wrote: "Pankey's art suggests the smokey, sophisticated vocal line of Billie Holiday and Jelly Roll Morton—half rueful, half mocking of audience and self. Nothing is quite as it seems: that is the underlying sensibility." Pettingell concluded that Pankey's "wry lyrics … shimmer with ideas the way an opal does with colors in the changing light. Pankey's teasing speculations often move in several directions, leading the reader's attention along a playful path that, not infrequently, ends in a disturbing conclusion."



Library Journal, December, 1984, Robert Hudzik, review of For the New Year, p. 2285; August, 1988, Fred Muratori, review of Heartwood, p. 162; November 1, 1991, Kathleen Norris, review of Apocrypha, p. 103; January, 2000, Tim Gavin, review of Cenotaph, p. 118.

New Leader, December 16, 1996, Phoebe Pettingell, review of The Late Romances, p. 31.

Poetry, December, 1992, Steven Cramer, review of Apocrypha, p. 159.

Publishers Weekly, May 27, 1988, Penny Kaganoff, review of Heartwood, p. 58; December 30, 1996, review of The Late Romances, p. 60; December 6, 1999, review of The Late Romances, p. 72.