Barrow Street

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.

Magazine Stand :: 4×2 – April 2022

Four by Two online poetry journal logo

Every two months, Barrow Street Press editors choose four new and emerging poets who have not yet published a chapbook or full-length book of poems and then features one of their poems on the 4×2 website. Current poets include Laura Dixon, Sean Burke, KT Herr, and Kristen Holt-Browning. Past spotlight poets include Susan Kay Anderson, Miranda Beeson, Bryce Berkowitz, Pune Dracker, Pete Follansbee, Henry Goldkamp, Caroline M. Mar, Emily McKay, Pablo Medina, Nicole Melanson, James Funinami Moore, Darren Morris, Heather Newman, Doug Ramspeck, Belinda Rule, Thomas Schwank, Mahtem Shiferraw, Andy Sia, Jordana Solomon, Arthur Solway, Sophia Starmack, Hillery Stone, W.R. Weinstein, and Rachel Willems.

Contest :: 2020 Barrow Street Book Prize

2020 Barrow Street Book Prize flierDeadline: June 30, 2020
Barrow Street is accepting submissions for the 2020 Book Prize Contest. This year’s contest judge is Pulitzer Prize finalist Dorianne Laux. Past winners include 2019 Simone Savannah collection Uses of My Body, chosen by contest judge Jericho Brown; Meg Day for Last Psalm at Sea Level; Page Hill Stazinger for Vestigial; and Ely Shipley for Boy with Flowers. Prize winner receives publication and $1500 cash prize. Online contest fee $28. Submit manuscripts online here: barrowstreet.org/press/submit/.