Durable Goods

James Pollock

Awards: Winner, 2022 Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award

Durable Goods is a book of sharply imagined poems about everyday technology. James Pollock calls to surprising life everything from microwaves to kettles, sprinklers to umbrellas, with a precision both unerring and effortless. By conjuring the essential spirit of each object, the poet reveals the tools and appliances that surround us as both sympathetic reflections of ourselves—our fear, love, rage, hope and grief—and strange beings with inner lives of their own. “It knows how much pressure you’ve been under,” Pollock writes, of the barometer, “that you could use a change of atmosphere.” Read together, these poems immerse us in an imagined world with the power to make us see our own in a new way. Suffused with dazzling wordplay, razor wit, and rippling sonic effects, the poems richly reward being read aloud. For Pollock, the most durable good is language itself.

Signal Editions
Poetry 2022


“In a world increasingly inundated by self-righteously thick poetry collections, by padded, obtuse abstractions, Durable Goods is a trim volume of wild exactness. To read and reread it is to be reminded afresh of the tangibility of language and of those familiar things surrounding you that its language so vividly animates.” — Peter Vertacnik, Literary Matters

“The energy moving through the collection is accounted for, wondered about, and rehomed in the simple turbine. There is a progression here, a sudden accruing of knowledge, and a widening of scope.” — Emily Mernin, Montreal Review of Books

"The poetic catalogue of ordinary things that James Pollock creates in Durable Goods is wry and bracingly dark. The poet's cool eye on the everyday makes the familiar strange, as objects seem to conspire to educate us in a dire metaphysic. An oscillating fan is "a time-lapse sunflower in a cage"; a dishwasher is a "crazed assault/on indifferent death itself." But there's pleasure, even joy here as well: the genuine delight of naming precisely, of making an elegant architecture of meaning out of the stubborn, contrary things that surround us." — Mark Doty

"James Pollock's latest collection, Durable Goods, presents a speaker able to mine seemingly insignificant objects for the astonishing. These elegant but intimate poems echo the very best of Tony Harrison and James Merrill—works which, beneath the sparkle of their cheeky humour, exhale with vulnerability and generosity and edge towards the oracular." — Alexandra Oliver

James Pollock is the author of Sailing to Babylon (2012), a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General's Award in Poetry. His prizes include the Manchester Poetry Prize, the Magma Editors' Prize, and the Guy Owen Prize from Southern Poetry Review. His other books include You Are Here: Essays on the Art of Poetry in Canada (2012) and The Essential Daryl Hine (2015). He grew up in southern Ontario, Canada, and is now Professor of English at Loras College. He lives with his wife and son in Madison, Wisconsin.
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75 pp 7.5" x 5"
ISBN13: 9781550656107

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