Pollard’s third collection is a virtuoso, volume-length series of imaginary self-portraits that feature artists from ancient Egypt, through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance to the present day. Each artist re-instruments the very act of painting or drawing, making marks on a life that persists from the other side of the canvas, glass or other mediums of death. In these imaginative confidings, Pollard’s new amplitude stretches his linguistic brilliance with a human resonance, confirming his unique voice and arguing – perhaps too quietly – for an essential place in British poetry.
This is a remarkable and illuminating collection. It has already rewarded more than one reading and I am sure it will richly reward many more. – Glyn Pursglove in Acumen
Each of these poems stand alone as a finely constructed piece in its own right, but collectively Pollard’s book builds and offers great insight into some of the most influential artists throughout history. The depth of the verse is delightful, providing fresh perspectives on art and poetry. Self-Portraits is a highly recommended read. – Mhairi Anton in DURA
In his poetry David Pollard displays an uncanny ability to let words collide so as to interrupt their sense, only then to renew their saying power somewhere beyond the limit of fixed speech. His artistry turns words—in his own words—into “glancing letters of illumination craning into the darkness.” – John Sallis
What is the relationship between the painted image and the poetic word? Pollard enters this fray, discovering new poetic voices that allow both artworks and artists, from the ancient to the contemporary, to paint without seeing in the sense that Leonardo claimed that ‘if art is dumb poetry then poetry is blind painting’. Pollard places his poetic imagination in the intermediary space ‘between dumb art and all the ways it speaks,’ creating poetic painterly portraits that breathe new life into the range of poetry’s traditional entitlements and that allow the imagination in the being singular plural of its works to shine forth. This is a major work and a cause for poets, painters, even philosophers, to celebrate. It is a work to which I will return again and again. – Jason M. Wirth
I also enjoyed Pollard’s Michelangelo sonnets, including a whole octet without end stopping carried off brilliantly! – Peter Brennon
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