|GW Creative Writing and English
Professor Frederick Pollack
Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press. GW English is happy to announce that his collection of shorter poems, A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press), will appear in a few weeks. Many other poems of his have appeared in print and online journals. He is an adjunct professor of Creative Writing at GW.
A Poverty of Words contains 92 poems written between 2010 and 2013. Its themes combine politics and metaphysics. Stylistically it is neither mainstream nor postmodernist. At various times Pollack has described himself as a “Beat classicist” and as “redoing Stevens along Marxist lines.”
A poem from A Poverty of Words, “In the Hallway,” is included below. You can also read a few more poems by Pollack, published in the Modern Poetry Quarterly Review, here.
In the Hallway
A girl pressing her cheek against a door,
doorjamb, or wall beside a door.
Crying probably, possibly
mumbling. That’s it.
Her face is turned away,
you can’t see if she’s pretty.
Which would make a difference
in your quotient of empathy
divided by reluctance
to get involved plus eventual impatience.
And if and how quickly
you escaped the sense
of not being a plausible
savior (someone she’d find
attractive when this is over), or –
long-cherished, firmly-held –
of helplessness. A novelist
cases the hallway, the smells and light,
social class as revealed
by her dress. Or should.
For my part, I (not making this
about me) check
the decaying file, the yellowed partial volume
of memory. Not finding her.
But she exists now, therefore always did
and will, and is both punishment and forgiveness.