Skip to content

James Pollock is the author of Sailing to Babylon (Able Muse Press, 2012), a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award in Poetry, and winner of an Outstanding Achievement Award in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association; and You Are Here: Essays on the Art of Poetry in Canada (The Porcupine’s Quill, 2012), a finalist for the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award for a collection of essays. He is also editor of The Essential Daryl Hine (The Porcupine’s Quill), which made The Partisan‘s list of the best books of 2015. A new book of his poems, Durable Goods, is forthcoming from Véhicule Press/Signal Editions in September, 2022. His poems have appeared in The Paris ReviewAGNI, Plume, The Walrus, and many other journals. They have also won the Manchester Poetry Prize, theMagma Editors’ Prize, and the Guy Owen Prize from Southern Poetry Review, and have been reprinted in anthologies in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., including The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry. His essays and reviews have appeared inContemporary Poetry ReviewCanadian Notes & QueriesLiterary Review of Canada,and elsewhere. He graduated from York University in Toronto, earned a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston, and is now Professor of English at Loras College. He lives with his wife and son in Madison, Wisconsin.

Sailing to Babylon

Able Muse Press
2013 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

The sentence, in James Pollock’s remarkably assured debut volume, is a unit of music and of time, a carefully modulated choreography that moves the reader through an elegantly constructed set of meditations on place and history and the education of the self…

The sentence, in James Pollock’s remarkably assured debut volume, is a unit of music and of time, a carefully modulated choreography that moves the reader through an elegantly constructed set of meditations on place and history and the education of the self — a self we come to know, in part, through the poet’s evocation of a rich company of tutelary spirits: Glenn Gould and Northrop Frye, Henry Hudson and C.P. Cavafy. Quietly confident, formally adept, assured in their music, these artful lyrics are not only an accomplishment in themselves but promise to register, as the poet says, ‘the breaking changes of a life to come’.