Augury, Eric Pankey’s thirteenth collection of poetry, employs precise nature imagery to perform its own divinations. These poems seem to exist in an alternate reality, where magic unfolds next to the mundane and the past blurs with the present and future. Here, magic and faith become interchangeable, as “We abandon magic for faith, faith for science, / for which magic / seems an apt substitute.” Pankey bravely abandons certainty, and instead embraces the quest for knowledge. His poems are filled with serpents, owls, and other familiars, which act as guides. He searches nature for the truth, calling on all the sciences to try to explain “theories on the flight of birds / the motion of waves, perspective / and optics; pages embossed / with rosemary leaves, a beetle’s / wing-husks,” but in the end acknowledges that such truth is ultimately unknowable, embracing the mystery of what science can’t explain: “Memory, like a net, is more negative space than positive.”

Milkweed Editions.