In WHAT LASTS, a memoir in poems, Sylvia Byrne Pollack (Risking It, 2021) takes us from her small-town childhood to the emergence of bipolar II disorder in midlife to the relative acceptance and serenity of her eighties. A persona dubbed Letitia symbolizes the mood excursions that weave throughout the poet’s adult daily life. Family, a long marriage, mental illness – Pollack writes about it all with joy, humor, and compassion.
Poetry. LGBTQ+ Studies. Women's Studies.
“Sylvia Byrne Pollack’s WHAT LASTS is a rich, musical, and witty synthesis of the layered and wide-ranging experiences of a long fascinating life. This collection is at once fanciful and realistic, mythical and science-minded, sparkling with metaphor and strung-through with fact. The poems in WHAT LASTS constitute a spirited memoir of searching and discovery, of illness and healing, of loves lost and found, and, most pivotally, of love found lasting.”
—Jed Myers, author of The Marriage of Space and Time and Watching the Perseids
“The deftly wrought poems in Sylvia Byrne Pollack's brave, disarming collection, WHAT LASTS, offer a relentless sightline into mental illness, aging, loss, and gritty hope. The speaker journeys through an Escher maze of challenges and darkness, yet sustains herself with keen appreciations, love of family, and the beauty of the world. What Lasts is ultimately a celebration of fierce tenacity and of life itself.”
—Katharine Whitcomb, author of Habitats and The Daughter's Almanac
Sylvia Byrne Pollack, author of Risking It (2021, Red Mountain Press) in Batavia, NY. She went on to earn a B.A. in Zoology (Syracuse University), a Ph.D. in Developmental Biology (University of Pennsylvania) and a M.A. in psychology (Antioch University-Seattle). Now a Research Professor Emerita after a long career in cancer research at the University of Washington, Sylvia decided to focus on poetry following a trip to Antarctica in 2007. Her poems have appeared in many print and online journals including Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, Quartet Journal, and The Stillwater Review. She is a two-time Pushcart nominee, won the 2013 Mason's Road Winter Literary Award, was a 2019 Jack Straw Writer and a 2021 Mineral School Resident.