Book Review :: On the Verge of Something Bright and Good by Derek Pollard

On the Verge of Something Bright and Good by Derek Pollard book cover image

Guest Post by Jami Macarty

On the Verge of Something Bright and Good by Derek Pollard is a collection of poems “not elegiac” but of “another kind of seeing that involves letting go.” That requires “a dream we hold to,” where “orange and quick” fish are held as “dear / … as headstones,” and a guiding question is: “How to love in the midst of tumult?” These poems are too humble and intelligent to answer conclusively. But slant. From a squad car that runs over a squirrel to a child whacked for dropping ice cream, these poems acknowledge the range of “advent, accident, / celebration” in our lives together where either “we take up arms” — “The war / Is a war we all fight, and is near” — or we open our arms to “our / Life together / Quiet / Aimless / And full.” There is love in these poems. Love of life and others. And, love of language: a “ricocheting” “hallelujah” “Heaven” of sound and meaning unabashedly riots throughout — “What care for shame? In any of this?” Lovingly the poems share with the tender reader “the holy / Moment this moment.” Reading this book, “To be sitting / Here, the two of us”: “It felt good. And sad, of course. But mostly just good.”


On the Verge of Something Bright and Good by Derek Pollard. Barrow Street Press, 2021.

Reviewer bio: Jami Macarty is the author of The Minuses (Center for Literary Publishing, 2020), winner of the 2020 New Mexico/Arizona Book Award – Poetry Arizona, and three chapbooks, including Mind of Spring (Vallum, 2017), winner of the 2017 Vallum Chapbook Award. Jami’s writing has been honored by financial support from Arizona Commission on the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, and by editors at magazines such as The Capilano Review, Concision Poetry Journal, Interim, Redivider, Vallum, and Volt, where Jami’s poems are forthcoming.

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