About Horse Not Zebra (Terrapin Books, 2022)
"Horse, Not Zebra, we learn in the title poem of this collection, refers to advice given to medical students—to look first to “the common, not the exotic” when diagnosing patients. Eric Nelson embraces that advice in his poems, exploring the common rituals of daily life—family interactions, gardening, long walks with or without dogs, even the clomp of a neighbor’s boots can be, for him, a call to attention. He acknowledges the darker moments of history he has lived through and faces intimations of his own mortality, yet persists in doing the hard work of learning how to laugh. His poems invite us to find joy in the quotidian and a way to “sing ourselves beyond ourselves.”
--Grace Bauer, author of Unholy Heart: New and Selected Poems
“Eric Nelson is one of the great walker-poets. Along with Wordsworth, Whitman, and Frank O’Hara, he conjures, engages with, and praises his world of daily walks with his dog and his life at home with his family. As the title suggests, he focuses on the ordinary rather than the exotic – the horse, not the zebra. Out of humble encounters Nelson summons the mysteries of memory and metaphor and the “spontaneous evolving shrine(s)” that show up on the path for those who are alert and looking.”
--Maggie Anderson, author of Dear All,
About Some Wonder (Gival Press, 2015)
"The wonders of this superb book begin with its clear, graceful, and accessible language. Whether writing about backyard chickens, dead friends, bodily odors, dog walking, punctuation marks, or the ordinary joys and sorrows of family life, Nelson shows that there is nothing more wondrous, finally, than ordinary life passing through the lens of a rich imagination."
--David Graham, author of The Honey of Earth and Second Wind
"In his powerful new collection, Some Wonder, Eric Nelson takes his reader 'abroad' (and beyond) in the most refined sense of those directives. He takes us deeply into experience and into the uniqueness of place. The language is lucid, lyrical, and exactly narrative. Yet the mystery of small moments is everywhere present: in each stanza, every poem."
--Katherine Soniat, author of The Swing Girl and Bright Stranger
"With its signature tenderness for human vulnerability, an expansive sense of place, and crystalline language threaded with wit, Some Won der is a collection that appeals on every page."
--A. E. Stringer, author of Late Breaking and Human Costume
About Terrestrials (Texas Review Press, 2004)
"Eric Nelson writes poems that (to alter one of his own constructions) put off their crowns and resume their ordinary lives. Refusing any lyric note that might embellish or patronize/or mis represent the people and landscapes he loves, he achieves an art whose democratic vistas are an absolute delight to behold."
"Anyone who thinks the sonnet is dead must read the opening poems of Eric Nelson's new collection. They, and the poems that follow them, are tough and touching, funny and/ring the pure notes of felt truth. These poems, though deeply rooted in family and our conflicted world, will get into your head, and fly."
About The Twins (Split Oak Press, 2009)
Nelson deals with death, transience, and the "and" between the living and the dead – those moments of conjunction when our spirit is touched by both the intimacy and permanence of death. I will not soon forget the impact of beauty and terror I experienced while reading the title poem of this chap book, "The Twins." Its shock and force as a poem resides not in the reader being surprised or appalled, but in creating a sense of the terrifying beauty of tragedies, and the persistence of our need to seek relationship even in death. A superb and unified manuscript.
--Joe Weil, Judge
University of Arkansas Press, 1991 Washington Writers Publishing House, 1984 Moonsquilt Press, 1983