The Whole by Contemplation of a Single Bone

9780823271177: Paperback
Release Date: 1st April 2016

Dimensions: 127 x 203.2

Number of Pages: 112

Series Poets Out Loud

Fordham University Press

The Whole by Contemplation of a Single Bone


A collection of lyric and prose poetry about identity, fragmentation, depression and addiction.
Paperback / £18.99

In this, her second collection of poetry, Nancy K. Pearson explores the possibilities of recovery and transformation in a world where “words cease to matter.” The speaker attempts to reconcile the past—a past shadowed by depression, addiction, and misdiagnosis. Pearson refuses to end in a place of relief, asking, “[D]on’t we all / fall into aggregate darkness / for something?” Instead, her poems meditate on the lyric of absence and fragmentation. Pearson’s poems are restless, unsettling, and revelatory.

Nancy K. Pearson's first book of poems, Two Minutes of Light, received the L. L. Winship / PEN New England award and was named a “Must Read Book” at the 2009 Annual Massachusetts Book Awards. Pearson recently taught poetry at the University of Houston and now lives in Maryland with her partner.

If Nancy Pearson chose to offer life lessons, moralizing, and even a bit of poemtificating about her struggles with meth addiction and depression in this latest collection, we’d forgive her. Indeed, we’d happily climb mountains to read anything she writes.

Matt Sutherland
—Foreword Reviews

Not only one poem but the whole of Nancy K. Pearson’s breathtaking second book, The Whole by Contemplation of a Single Bone, presses the question 'Do you understand the urgency?' Urgency hums through this collection like current through an electric fence.

—H.L. Hix

So wondrous and happily strange that I had to take breaks in my reading of it to make sure that everything I thought I knew was still the way I remembered it. This is, in the best way, a book about what it means to be surprised.

—Michael Klein