Sylvia Byrne Pollack

Sylvia Byrne Pollack

Sylvia Byrne Pollack’s poems appear in The Stillwater Review, Crab Creek Review, Wild Roof, and many other print and online journals. She’s a two-time Pushcart nominee, 2019 Jack Straw Writer and 2021 Mineral School Resident. Her debut collection Risking It (2021) and her latest book, What Lasts (2023) are both from Red Mountain Press.

2024 Jack Straw Alumni Poetry Series:

What Lasts journeys from small-town childhood to the emergence of bipolar II disorder in midcareer to relative acceptance. A persona, Letitia, is used to explore the mood excursions that weave throughout the poet’s adult daily life. Pollack writes about family, a long marriage, mental illness with joy, humor, and compassion.

December Morning at Possession Point

We yearn to know what’s out there
but still distract ourselves with bowl games,

riffs on reindeer, miracles on 34th Street.
Our horizons are so limited but what I can see

on this December day is miracle enough for me.
Grey morning sky, cats’ paws on the water

while wind tiptoes the shore, sniffing at
salt-soaked logs, scratching itself

on barnacle-bedecked rocks. The barnacles,
distanced from us by evolution’s endless

experiments, are numerous as stars
Water, wind, gulls, herons and there

just 50 yards off-shore, a pod of orcas
black and white constellation worthy of a place

in the sky with Leo, Aries, Orion.
The orcas speak in clicks and whistles

beyond our atmosphere into –
through – star-speckled space.

2019 Writers Program

Sound Clips
  • Sylvia Byrne Pollack at Jack Straw
    Selves - Sylvia Byrne Pollack