Poetry of David Pollard
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Poetry of David Pollard

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Poetry by David Pollard - his three volumes from Waterloo Press. patricides includes the series on his father and Risk of Skin, the series on the Keats Circle. His latest, Self-Portraits is an imaginative series of poems speaking out of 88 artists' self-portraits. In all, these volumes include pieces on historical figure, artists and musicians and so much more.

'In these imaginative confidings, pollard's new amplitude stretches his linguistic brilliance with a human resonance, confirming his unique voice and arguing - perhaps too quietly - for an essential place in British poetry'.

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Risk of Skin

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    Risk of Skin

    Five years since his stunning late debut, patricides, David Pollard returns with a volume showing explosive, protean diversity. Clearly taking up from there, this second collection marks a kind of gimel, the early polyphonic way of showing how harmony enriches by dividing into different voices. Styles here bounce off each other as if fighting for possession.

    A stone-setting of obituaries, history (particularly revolutionary) and Pollard’s familiar creativity/death nexus, enriches this more peopled collection. The exploration of painting and particularly music is a Pollard keynote. It is this inner-part voicing, so intent in Pollard, evident in his readings but shouting between the singular line breaks, that marks his uniqueness.

    Open to Oppen, but engaging with Keats’s circle in his large end-sequence, Pollard reveals a playful historical imagination. It’s in a wholly epistolary sequence with spare, accessible language infused with Pollard’s insights. It’s also an ideal place to access Pollard’s world, over-spilling with sad, individual nuances: a drastic re-visiting of his very honed language.

    Many poems here are about death – in general, of god - Nietzschian and Christian crucifixion. Above all, of the death of the poet’s father and the absence of the dead for those left behind and even the absence of god. All of these interact and ride Pollard’s ever more poignant – and frantic - mastery.


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      Pollard’s third collection is a virtuoso, volume-length series of imaginary self-portraits that feature artists from ancient Egypt, through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the present day. Each artist re-instruments the very act of painting or drawing, making marks on a life that persists from the other side of the canvas, glass or other mediums of death. In these imaginative confidings, Pollard’s new amplitude stretches his linguistic brilliance with a human resonance, confirming his unique voice and arguing - perhaps too quietly - for an essential place in British poetry.

      In his poetry David Pollard displays an uncanny ability to let words collide so as to interrupt their sense, only then to renew their saying power somewhere beyond the limit of fixed speech.  His artistry turns words—in his own words—into “glancing letters of illumination craning into the darkness.” John Sallis What is the relationship between the painted image and the poetic word? Pollard enters this fray, discovering new poetic voices that allow both artworks and artists, from the ancient to the contemporary, to paint without seeing in the sense that Leonardo claimed that ‘if art is dumb poetry then poetry is blind painting’. Pollard places his poetic imagination in the intermediary space ‘between dumb art and all the ways it speaks,’ creating poetic painterly portraits that breathe new life into the range of poetry’s traditional entitlements and that allow the imagination in the being singular plural of its works to shine forth. This is a major work and a cause for poets, painters, even philosophers, to celebrate. It is a work to which I will return again and again. Jason M. WirthI also enjoyed Pollard’s Michelangelo sonnets, including a whole octet without end stopping carried off brilliantly!  Peter Brennan

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