Image by Scott Webb

James Pollock

Poet · Critic · Editor


Coming in September 2022

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Véhicule Press/Signal Editions, 2022

Trade paperback
75 pp 7.5" x 5"
ISBN13: 9781550656107

"The poetic catalogue of ordinary things James Pollock creates in Durable Goods is wry and bracingly dark. The poet’s cool eye on the everyday makes the familiar strange, as objects seem to conspire to educate us in a dire metaphysic. An oscillating fan is “a time-lapse sunflower in a cage”; a dishwasher makes a “crazed assault/on indifferent death itself.” But there’s pleasure, even joy here as well: the genuine delight of naming precisely, of making an elegant architecture of meaning out of the stubborn, contrary things that surround us."Mark Doty
"James Pollock’s latest collection, Durable Goods, presents a speaker able to mine seemingly insignificant objects for the astonishing. These elegant but intimate poems echo the very best of Tony Harrison and James Merrill—works which, beneath the sparkle of their cheeky humour, exhale with vulnerability and generosity and edge towards the oracular.”—Alexandra Oliver
From the Cover

Durable Goods is a book of sharply imagined poems about everyday technology. James Pollock calls to surprising life everything from microwaves to kettles, sprinklers to umbrellas, with a precision both unerring and effortless. By conjuring the essential spirit of each object, the poet reveals the tools and appliances that surround us as both sympathetic reflections of ourselves—our fear, love, rage, hope and grief—and strange beings with inner lives of their own. “It knows how much pressure you’ve been under,” Pollock writes, of the barometer, “that you could use a change of atmosphere.”

Read together, these poems immerse us in an imagined world with the power to make us see our own in a new way. Suffused with dazzling wordplay, razor wit, and rippling sonic effects, the poems richly reward being read aloud. For Pollock, the most durable good is language itself.

Also by James Pollock (click the covers for more information)

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James Pollock is the author of Sailing to Babylon (Able Muse Press, 2012), a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award in Poetry, and winner of an Outstanding Achievement Award in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association; and You Are Here: Essays on the Art of Poetry in Canada (The Porcupine's Quill, 2012), a finalist for the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award for a collection of essays. He is also editor of The Essential Daryl Hine (The Porcupine's Quill), which made Partisan magazine's list of the best books of 2015. A new book of his poems, Durable Goods, is forthcoming from Véhicule Press in 2022. His poems have appeared in The Paris Review, AGNI,

Plume, The Walrus, and many other journals. They have also won the Manchester Poetry Prize, the Magma Editors' Prize, and the Guy Owen Prize from Southern Poetry Review, and have been reprinted in anthologies in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., including The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry. His essays have appeared in Contemporary Poetry Review, Canadian Notes & Queries, Literary Review of Canada, and elsewhere. He graduated from York University in Toronto, earned a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston, and is now Professor of English at Loras College. He lives with his wife and son in Madison, Wisconsin.



Online Reading

As part of the Able Muse Zoom Reading series, on Saturday, July 30, 2022, I read poems from Durable Goods and Sailing to Babylon, alongside Jennifer Reeser and Rosemerry Trommer, two American poets also published by Able Muse Press. You can watch a video of the reading by clicking on Videos in the menu at the top of this page. My own reading begins at the seven minute mark.

Forthcoming Publications

My poem "Kettle" is forthcoming in print and online in the September/ October, 2022, issue of The Walrus.

Recent Prizes

My poem "Mousetrap" was awarded the $1,000 Guy Owen Prize from Southern Poetry Review for 2021. It was published in Volume 59, Issue 1 of that journal. To read the poem online, click here.

My poem "Goose Neck Lamp" was awarded the £1,000 Editors' Prize in the Magma Poetry Competition in the U.K., and was published in issue 77 of
Magma Poetry in July, 2020. You can read it online here (scroll to page 10).

My poems "Lighter,""Scale," "Screw," "Sewing Needle," and "Microphone" were awarded the £10,000 Manchester Poetry Prize for 2020, the U.K.'s largest poetry prize for unpublished work. The poems have since been published in Met Magazine, in print and online, accompanied by illustrations and an article about the Prize. To see a virtual reading of all the shortlisted pieces and comments by the judges, click here. To see just my own reading of "Scale" and "Screw,"  click on Videos in the main menu at the top of this page.

Recent Publications

My poem "Dryer" was published online in the August, 2022, issue of

"Framing Hammer" was published in The Fiddlehead, Issue 291 (Spring 2022) in April, 2022.

"Flashlight" was published  in Geist 119 in February, 2022. You can read it online here.

"Mousetrap" was published in Volume 59, Issue 1, of Southern Poetry Review in August, 2021. You can read it online here.

"Umbrella" and "Sprinkler" were published in issue 118 of Geist in the summer of 2021. You can read "Umbrella" online here. And "Sprinkler" online here.

"Shower" and "Toilet" were published in Event magazine, in issue 50/1 (Spring/Summer 2021).

"Barometer" and "Television" were published in issue 117 of Geist in March, 2021. You can read "Barometer" online here. And "Television" online here.

"Wind Turbine" and "Oscillating Fan" were published in The Antigonish Review, issue 201-202, in October, 2020.
"Mirror," "Faucet," and "Coffee Grinder" were published in Vol. 8 Issue 1 (Spring & Summer) of The Humber Literary Review, in print, in September, 2020. An electronic version of these poems is available online (on page 29).
"Washing Machine" and "Refrigerator" were published in issue 115 of Geist in June 2020.
"Ceiling Fan" and "Spectacles" are read and discussed by the editors in episode 82 of the Painted Bride Quarterly Slush Pile podcast, which came online in May, 2020. They were also published in issue 100 of Painted Bride Quarterly.
"Iron" was published in the Winter 2020 issue of Contemporary Verse 2.
"Crossing the Seine" was published in the April, 2019, issue of The Walrus, and posted online on The Walrus's website on Feb. 14, 2020.

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