English poet Estill Pollock's new collection is an ARK built to weather the flood of 21st century life.
“I have nothing left / To offer, except this poem,” Estill Pollock declares around the midpoint of his new collection ARK, and for anyone else this might seem an apology or lament; but Pollock’s poems encompass multitudes, and offer the reader entire worlds. His title of course suggests both a means of safety and sanctuary (the title of one section here), as well as a repository of sacred texts, and both are apt descriptions for this volume. His hierophantic language demands much from the reader, but rewards in equal measure, and pleasure. His scope ranges over time and space, “in data streams / Of stars,” from “Neanderthals in Paris” to “AI execution codes” and “Cryptocurrency blockchain” carrying us over rising tides of (literal) water and war and all manner of floods that threaten to engulf us. A long account of “London in those times / Of empire” makes up much of the middle section; and even though it has been decades since he left his native America he devotes specific attention to its problematic history, and present. “Mason-Dixon” recounts the Original Sin of slavery, while more recently he observes how “American democracy eats / Its young—pockets emptied to Big Pharma / Big Banks, murder-cop trials, neo-Nazi podcast / Or demagogue variant QAnon.” “Old worlds give up their dead,” he observes, “a skull / In tidal mud, looted barrows, souvenirs / Of species an archived fidelity, as though / We were disappearing from our own lives.” But Pollock’s ARK is here to preserve us. “This is about everything, and nothing” – in which respect it perfectly resembles life.
Particularly to be admired in these poems are the craft, imagery and messages.—Acumen (UK)
ARK is a whirlwind, a blasting volcano, a far-reaching tsunami, and cumulatively haunting. It is at once focused and all-encompassing, outward-looking in the extreme while simultaneously introspective. Suffice to say, it is a mature collection from a poet whose world view is as immense as his poetic talents. Estill Pollock’s ARK, as with his greater body of work, should not go unnoticed.—Timothy Dodd, author of Modern Ancient & Fissures and Other Stories
Estill Pollock is a latter-day metaphysical poet. On the evidence of the poems in ARK, Pollock’s profundity—his wit, in the old high sense of that word—is beyond question. Language, for him, is a precision instrument he uses to think through everything that interests him. And everything, it seems, interests him. I would go so far as to call Pollock a planetary man. His ARK is built to last, to ride out the flood tide of the 21st century that is still and always coming in.—William Slaughter, Editor, Mudlark: An Electronic Journal of Poetry and Poetics & author of Untold Stories & The Politics of My Heart
Estill Pollock's publications include Constructing the Human (Poetry Salzburg, 2001) and the book cycle Relic Environments Trilogy (Cinnamon Press, Wales, 2012). His recent poetry collections, ENTROPY (2021) and TIME SIGNATURES (2022), are published by Broadstone Books. He lives in Norfolk, England.