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.
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.
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.
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.