Sailing to Babylon Reviewed in UTQ

A great pleasure to read Brent Wood's review of Sailing to Babylon in the University of Toronto Quarterly, where he writes, "Pollock shines brightly in 'Quarry Park,' a long poem." Click "Read More" for an excerpt.

"The tight terza rima format showcases [his] poetic discipline . . . . [He] blithely hints at the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise while creating a rich complex of his own past, his son's future, the childhood games of a boy (also named James) who once lived in the quarry, the glacier called "Huge Toad" by the Huron, and the Rowan-tree mythology of the Gaels, all without losing the immediate beauty of the ecology of the place itself, rendered through carefully detailed images. The poem moves gracefully through the woods at an easy pace for over twenty pages, never making a false step or departing from the idiomatic tone, sweeping readers along through the magical dimensions of the real, and the real dimensions of the magical, showing how beautiful are "the ruins that prevail/ even in the midst of death; how we forget/ and how our forgetting makes us homeless, / until we dig ourselves out of this debt/ we owe the giant past for making us ourselves."

© 2012 James Pollock