Congratulations to Loras Associate Professor of English, James Pollock as he is being recognized in his native country of Canada for receiving CWW’s 2012 Posner Poetry Book Award honorable mention for his book 'Sailing to Babylon'. The book is now a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award in poetry and is on the Griffin Poetry Prize Canadian Shortlist. On June 12, Pollock will join the six other finalists at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto for a reading.
Dr. James Pollock had his first collection of poetry, Sailing to Babylon
, published by Able Muse Press on June 26, 2012. After its release, it became one of the books on Amazon’s list of Hot New Releases in American Poetry.
Dr. Pollock began his work as a poet over twenty-five years ago. His poems have been published in AGNI, The Paris Review, Poetry Daily
, and many other literary journals. And now, after spending many years channeling various pools of inspiration and taking a sabbatical to focus on the crafting of poems for his book, this summer Dr. Pollock’s collection made its way to the shelves of online and traditional bookstores in countries around the globe.
With some poems drawing on memories such as his travels in Prague and Vienna, and a walk he took in a wooded park with his two-and-a-half-year-old son, and others echoing great poets such as Dante, Keats, Wordsworth and Yeats, and a few concerning historical figures from Canada, his native country, including explorers Henry Hudson and David Thompson, the book draws on a strong core of familial and historical roots to explore both the self and the universal.
A short passage from one of the book’s longer poems, “Quarry Park,” reflects the rich language woven through the pages of Sailing to Babylon
our lives and their monuments are, and yet
how beautiful the ruins that prevail
even in the midst of death . . .
After a long journey to publication, “Sailing to Babylon
is not only a fully realized and accomplished work of art – it is also a noble book,” writes the American poet and critic, Edward Hirsch, adding that Dr. Pollock is “a poet of Northwest Passages, a learned Canadian poet with a splendid ear and a Romantic sensibility, a keen explorer of inner and outer states.”
The critic Sven Birkerts compares Pollock to the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer, who was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature: “The metaphysics of the pause, the transition, the image: James Pollock has the Tranströmer instinct, but he plays the music in his very own key. These are haunting, deeply digested, nearly always surprising poems.”
Dr. Pollock’s critical reviews have been published in such journals as Contemporary Poetry Review, Books in Canada
, and The New Quarterly
. A collection of his criticism, You Are Here: Essays on the Art of Poetry in Canada
, will be published in November by The Porcupine’s Quill.