by Joshua Gage
"The depth of Vance’s poems, and the multi-layered aspects of her poetry, cannot be overstated. There is a lot happening between these covers, and readers will learn as much as they will be terrified. A History of Touch is a tour-de-force."
"The poems that make up A History of Touch are constructed as curious breath-phrases, each line built to articulate rhythm on the page, each line break offering where the breath might stand. Her poems exist as short narratives, little lyric stories in the form of poems."
"A History of Touch is an evocative portrait of the resilient spirit of womanhood. Unveiling hauntings of lives past through chilling depictions of the female condition and the natural world, Vance enchants with her lyrical prose capturing the reader in her web of “sweet wickedness” and witchery. A History of Touch is elaborate and absorbing . . . an exceptional debut."
by Tesia Lewis
"Erin Vance shines new light on themes of motherhood, misogyny and violence against women in A History of Touch. This vivid and haunting collection of poetry is about women [...] labeled ‘difficult’ or ‘hysterical’. This collection is immersive and thought-provoking."
"Erin Vance is a master of weaving folklore and history into poetry and she walks perfectly the line between unnerving and achingly beautiful. This book has everything one could want from a macabre feminist collection: visceral longing, righteous anger, haunting soliloquy and searing truth. Read this if you love Shirley Jackson, true crime, feminist history and Irish folklore, and especially read this if you love poetry; Vance has a specific and rare poetic voice that is like no one else, but is all the same very familiar."
"Erin Emily Ann Vance is one of Canada’s most vital and brilliant emerging writers. To read her work is to encounter a fresh, authentic, and haunting voice, one that is thrillingly new. Deftly bridging divides between genres, tones, and forms, her poetry evokes poignant and indelible images. Her debut poetry collection, A History of Touch, is beautiful and disturbing in equal measure. These carefully crafted poems draw on history, witchcraft, folklore, true crime, and the Gothic to explore cultural and intimate narratives around women’s embodiment. Vance’s language is always gorgeous, but the affect here is often powerfully disquieting. This book is a stunning achievement."
by Alison Manley
"This is a bold collection of poems and unapologetically dives right into the realities of flesh, from the opening poem, “All the Women You’ve Ever Touched,” where Vance opens with rot, bile, and different organs. Vance’s poems hold a strange fascination: I was repulsed by how clear and strong Vance’s description was, but also impressed with how consistent it was throughout the collection of poems, as well as how she wielded it to make different points in each poem.These poems are challenging, but rewarding in their singular focus on sharing the stories of these women. Reading this collection was a spooky, sometimes uncomfortable journey, but one that was ultimately rewarding."
"A History of Touch is a lyrical hall of horrors that explores the darkness, the gore, and the painful things many women have to go through. Vance walks in the shoes of many silenced, hidden, and maligned women in history, and in each poem, she unearths their pain and screams so loudly that anyone cannot help but hear. The first poem, "All the Women You've Ever Touched", sets the stage for this Gothic horror show: mangled bodies, grotesque carnage, burning rage. It is a collective fire that pulls you in and demands you to declare where you stand because it is silence of allies that killed them all. What makes this whole collection even more unsettling is Vance's signature mic-drop move: The last line of each poem is often an action directed to the reader--Feel them. Lick.--inducing the senses and ending with a sensation that lingers long after closing the book."