Friday, 10 September 2021

Press Release

Broadstone Books (Broadstone Media LLC) is pleased to announce that Estill Pollock's latest poetry collection, Entropy, has been listed as a Recommended title on the latest SPD (Small Press Distribution) network in the United States.

Entropy





Sunday, 29 August 2021


Entropy

We are pleased to announce the publication of Estill Pollock's latest poetry collection, Entropy, published in the United States by Broadstone Books in Kentucky. 

The book is available now through the publisher website at a discounted price, or through Amazon.

https://www.broadstonebooks.com/shop/p/entropy-poetry-by-estill-pollock

Copies are available in the UK (limited stock) through PayPal, £13.50. For availability in the first instance, contact corsair_f4@outlook.com




Tuesday, 30 June 2020

New Poems in 2020

In 2020, new poems are scheduled for publication in the English journals, The Dawntreader, Orbis, Reach and Sarasvati. The long poem, "Monster" is published in the New York journal, Projected Letters, which had previously published the poem sequence, "Water Harp" and the individual poems, "Ex Cathedra" and "Snake."

Monday, 9 January 2017

Press Release


Notification has been received from publishers Forward Poetry that the poem, "Asides to Walt Whitman, Where Brooklyn Ferry Intersects the Seventh Circle of Dante's Hell" (from the Salt Ensign, "Maquettes for a Season of Fury" series) is to be included in their new anthology of political poetry, Political Fortunes, scheduled for publication in March 2017.

On publication, copies of the anthology will be lodged with the British Library and other libraries in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Further information will be available at www.forwardpoetry.co.uk.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Relic Environments Trilogy: Hail and Farewell

As with the final posting of poems in the Blackwater Quartet book cycle, I wanted to thank readers who have kept faith with the Relic Environments Trilogy series. 

In the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Ukraine, and in Asian countries as well, a small but faithful readership as been maintained, which I hope has brought these poems to the attention of the public more widely than was possible in the original publications (For information about these earlier editions, see the Introduction post.).

Further, the complete MS of the publisher's penultimate draft is made available through the link below. The MS is correct in most respects although without pagination, and although the draft here lists the collection as published in Kings Lynn, Norfolk by Biddles Ltd., in fact it was printed in Poland.

Here, too, are included the excellent, evocative drawings by Meredith T. Smith, set aside in earlier drafts but appearing here as in the published edition.

Again as with Blackwater Quartet, the work here can be sampled for personal or educational purposes, provided that the appropriate citations for author and publication copyright are made, as applicable.

Estill Pollock
Norfolk, England


Relic Environments Trilogy


Relic Environments Trilogy: Book III, Part 2.vi

from Book III, Part 2, Animus

Afterward: Into the Forest

Everything remembered

A catechism of blood rehearsed by open fires
Of itself… of itself
Time knotted thick as noose rope

The cottage window shimmers between worlds

What do you see

A path of thorns… there was always Death and Judgment
Three wishes, a shoe by a hearth, a task or journey

We save our pity for ourselves, our guises
And ferocity

A spell, a notation of otherness
Slips its lead, the changeling passing unnoticed through the room

Or we are rich, or we are lost
Or we are devoured, again and again, yet live

What is spoken was in the mind
Before the stories had names

These landscapes, rivers, creatures, everything recognised
Everything remembered

Into the forest, the path we took to meet ourselves

These others


Relic Environments Trilogy: Book III, Part 2.v

from Book III, Part 2, Animus

III. A Mask of Mirrors

Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs

It was no fairytale.

That winter the mother died, but just before she died
she saw her daughter, still covered in birth fluids,
and said, So pale, my love, your rosebud mouth
so small, and dark curls black as ravens.
But these were her last words, and the King her husband
ordered a servant to pass a candle flame before her eyes
for any sign,
but there was nothing.
Already the cheeks were sunken, and the bedbugs
crawled out of her hair, dank
with sweat from the killing birth.

The child’s name, a scrabble of diphthongs
in keeping with her class, was entered in the annuls, 
but her pet name was Snow White.

The King remarried, this time to his dead wife’s sister.
(The woman was slim as a mink,
and with slinky looks she caught the King
before her sister was cold in the ground.)
She was wily, and jealous of the King’s attention
to her sister’s child, but thought,
When he’s dead, the kingdom’s mine.

One day, the Queen was walking in her garden
and heard two ladies-in-waiting
beyond the yew hedge, gossiping.
One said, …of course,
she’ll have nothing but the clothes she’s standing in
when the girl inherits.

And the other agreed, Gold follows the bloodline,
and the king’s not one to wait around
when her looks go.

The Queen went straight to her husband.
He said, Blood to blood, it is the rule, and can’t be broken
while my daughter lives,
but you’ll always have a place in the household
after I’m gone.

Her large grey eyes were fixed on Snow White,
who sat in the corner,
dressing a wicker doll in silk.
Then turning to the king she raged, I am the Queen.
I’ll not be compared to a cooking pot.

As she spoke, the King noticed, for the first time,
around her eyes the laughter lines, fine
as spider’s web, and on the back
of the fist she banged the table with,
a liver spot or two.

                                    *

‘The Queen remained in her apartments
for seven years, the windows closed over with tapestries.
Her jaw line sagged, and when she sat
her belly rested on her lap. Every year,
she looked a little more like her mother, who too
had married above her station,
but could not outrun
her peasant-stock of humpy back and bad teeth…’

…The Queen woke with a start, and shook her head
to clear the nightmare − for a moment
she had seen herself in a dark room, in the looking-glass
her mother’s face…

Her hormones were hallucinogens.

But her hatred for Snow White was real enough.
It was a pampered pooch.
She baby-talked it, roughed its coat
and nuzzled it for ticks and fleas.
It was special.

She sent for her old family servant, one she could trust
not to talk, and not to go squeamish
when fine talk turned to sweaty jelly.

The old servant woman was good with herbs,
and boiled them to a tincture
laced into a fatty lamb’s leg
she fed the King’s best greyhound; it shivered once
nose to tail, and died.

The King found it in the hall, black tongue lolling.
The Queen said, Poor thing, it must be rancid meat
I saw Snow White set out; she never liked its barking.

The King’s look was thunder,
but he never said a word.

The King had a pretty mare.
He had bought it for his wife, the mother of his daughter,
and every time he saw it
he remembered his love for Snow White’s mother.

A stable boy came to the King, and told him
the pretty mare had fitted, its mouth
a bloody foam, and the Queen said, Poor thing,
it must be the bitter flowers
I saw Snow White mixing in the oats;
she never liked that little horse.

The King’s look was thunder,
but he never said a word.

Later, the King sat at his table, and the Queen said,
My Dear, have a piece of chicken,
to take your mind off your poor horse and hound.
The King reached out to take the dish,
but saw no mealy chicken claw −
instead, a broad hawk talon, and round it
a silver ring with his own mark etched in:
his best hawk now drumsticks.

The Queen said, Poor thing.
Snow White, I think, never liked it stooping so…

But the Queen was clever, and said, My Dear,
I am ill with worry for your daughter.
I sicken from her wickedness and hurt to you.

The King considered his Queen,
that he had wronged her in loving so wicked a child,
and he asked her pardon, and her pleasure,
and she replied,
A vial of Snow White’s blood, stoppered with her toe,
or lungs and liver in a salty stew;
that will do.

And the King went pale, and shook,
and knew a promise was a promise, and a King’s promise
greater still, but when he found Snow White,
and saw her raven hair, her rosebud mouth, and she
the image of her mother, he called the cook
who brought a suckling pig,
and cut and cooked the parts the Queen demanded.

The Queen said to her old servant, That’s it
for little Miss, and tasty too.

                                    *

In her garden the Queen had a well, and in the well
she kept a fish.

The old servant
sprinkled a few herbs on the water
and the fish surfaced for a nibble.
But the herbs were powerful, and made the well water
clear as silvered glass, and the fish
speak.
                  
The Queen looked down, and called,
Little fish, little fish,
here is my wish, that you should praise
my beauty above all others, raise
it like a star, shiny in a golden dish.

But the fish, unused to speaking, mumbled
something the Queen just missed,
except the last words
bubbling on the surface…Snow White…

                                    *

The King had called the cook
who had brought the suckling pig,
and cut and cooked the parts the Queen demanded.
And Snow White, pretty as she was, the image
of her mother, stood before her father,
asking, Father, what is your pleasure

And the King replied, Daughter
it’s best you go; you’re the image of your mother
and a child no longer. Too pretty by half
by my way of thinking.
If you were seven I’d give you a spanking,
but you’re fourteen now: hold out your hand.

The King took a knife and hacked her little finger,
saying, One for my hound.

And Snow White said, It doesn’t hurt,
because it’s you.

And the King took the knife and hacked the next,
and her little rings tinkled across the floor:
And one for my pretty mare.

And Snow White said, It doesn’t hurt,
because it’s you.

And the King took the knife, and hacked
her middle finger, long and white,
its painted nail the shape of an almond, and said,
This last for the hawk, the hawk
I hunted with.

And Snow White said, It doesn’t hurt,
because it’s you.

And blood splodged the floor in little drips,
and Snow White said, Father
is there anything else you’d have me do…

The King thought and thought, then
thought better of it, and took her to the forest.
He said, Your Stepmother thinks you’re through…
no peace for me unless it’s true.

And Snow White walked off into the forest,
a silk wrapped round her hand.
She looked back just once, to see the King’s dogs
chewing at something on the ground.

                                    *

In her garden,
the Queen looked down the well, and called,
Little fish, little fish,
here is my wish, that you should praise
my beauty above all others, raise
it like a star, shiny in a golden dish.

The fish cleared its throat:
In this garden here, it’s true,
none more beautiful than you,
but look about,
your competition is a crone and trout;
in the forest walks the ravishing
Snow White, spared in secret by the King.

The Queen went straight to her husband.
He confessed, he thought it best
Snow White was banished − 
he found a fourteen-year-old girl
unsettling: that raven hair, that tiny rosebud mouth, her
long smooth shiny legs.

The Queen turned to her old servant:
Find her.

The old woman turned round once,
twice, again, and at the third turn
turned into a bird,
a scruffy crow that flew out over the castle walls
towards the forest.

                                    *

Snow White walked and walked
and walked, crossing seven hills.

Low, dead branches clattered against
ancient trees, and she could hear animals
scuttling through the undergrowth.

The path went by a dell, and she thought it odd
a little chimney poked through the moss
by the thicket of trees.
Her stumpy hand ached, the silk
she’d wrapped it in
by now soaked through with blood.
Brambles had scratched her knees and ankles,
and she walked down the hill
to the hut, a faint smoke
drifting from the chimney stack of hollow elm.

She opened the door, stooping through it
into a room with a low ceiling strung with cobwebs.

The floor was greasy and pulled at her shoes
as she stepped farther in the darkened room,
and saw the stuffed straw bundles in a row.
She flopped on one that seemed to fit, and slept.

                                    *

Seven dwarfs, the last of seven families,
returned from their mountain mine, and the gold
they hoarded in its shafts.
They were stout and broad as broad oak buckets,
grimy, the way men are, when left
to themselves.

Yet, grimed and rough, swearing oaths
against their bent backs and stinking feet,
they stopped cold:
a creature slept a perfect sleep, a raven-haired sleep,
a dreamy rosebud mouth of sleep.

One lifted up her skirts to see, and some
looked close, and others looked away, but as they looked
a little gold dust fell from their collars,
sprinkle-sprinkle, and Snow White
sat up, and sneezed, Ah-choo.

The eldest of the seven came forward,
You’re trespassing − get out,
thinking only of his mountain hoard.

The others were less inclined
to see her off, thinking of yet another day
of burnt porridge
and trousers stiff with bacon fat.

They struck a deal: with her one good hand
she’d scrub and cook
and tidy-up the inglenook,
in exchange for bedding space, soup,
and clean knickers twice a week
(They fought to bring the water…).

Outside, across the mossy roof,
the shadow of a bird…

                                    *

The Queen took her servant’s old cloak,
wrapping it close around her head and shoulders,
smudged her face with hearth soot,
and practised her lines.

Catching herself in the looking-glass,
she thought, I look just like my mother…

Into the forest, over seven hills, she came
to the hut… tap-tap, tap-tap.
Snow White
left scrubbing the floor, blew a wisp of hair
out of her eyes, and opened the door.
Lacy stays, my Dear, the Queen-crone
droned, the… Here, let me help…
followed by a jerk that winded Snow White,
the stays too tight,
her knees gave way and she fell,
knocking her scrub brush and bucket against the door
just closing.
The dwarfs returned, saw her there                                    
blue-faced, and with a swift knife cut the stays,
her first breath like a bellows.

That was close, they said.
That was close, she answered.

                                    *

In her garden,
the Queen looked down the well, and called,
Little fish, little fish,
here is my wish, that you should praise
my beauty above all others, raise
it like a star, shiny in a golden dish.

The fish swam first in circles, then in figure-eights,
and spoke,
Snow White lives, beyond the seven hills
she breathes; she’s fourteen, her long smooth legs unmatched
by any plot you’ve hatched.

The Queen set off, this time with a comb
tipped in toxic dip, and offered it to the girl, who knew
the risks, but found chores
dull, and fancied something new.

So pretty, and for you, the Queen-crone urged.
Through her raven locks she pulled the ivory comb,
and poison seeped, burning into her scalp,
and stopped her heart.
… Just in time the dwarfs, shaking
and shaking to make her breathe,
and when the comb fell out, she did.

That was close, they said,
and Snow White nodded.

                                    *

The Queen demanded of the fish
her little wish.

The fish went deep, and surfacing again
along the silvered plane, said,
She lives. Her raven hair, her tiny rosebud mouth
are nothing if not true: south
of here, over seven hills, she whose beauty so
beguiles − stumpy hand or no…

                                    *

Tap-tap, tap-tap, and Snow White,
bored, shared the apple with the Queen,
the Queen’s half sweet as autumn, Snow White’s
blackened with the old maid-servant’s art.

And she could not be saved, and died.

                                    *

The dwarfs took her body
and washed it with water and wine,
dressed her in clean clothes, and wrapped
her stumpy hand in new red silk.

From quartz in their mountain they cut
a coffin Snow White’s length, because they could not
bring themselves to sink her raven hair,
her tiny rosebud mouth,
her long smooth shiny legs, into dark and cold.
Into the glassy quartz they cut her name,
and that she was a king’s daughter, wronged.

They carried it to the top of the mountain,
and each kept vigil, year after year, yet she
remained as she was in life, her rosebud mouth, her hair
black as a raven’s eye.

                                    *

In her garden,
the Queen looked down the well, and called,
Little fish, little fish,
here is my wish, that you should praise
my beauty above all others, raise
it like a star, shiny in a golden dish.

And the fish went round, went round,
went round, I am just a little fish,
it said, but praise
your beauty above all others, raise
it like a star, shiny in a golden dish

                                    *

Twelve huntsmen, a king’s son
and others of the court,
took the forest path leading by the dell.

(They had been cats: riding out, deep in the woods,
the last they remembered was a scruffy crow passing over,
and they were changed, their jewelled cloak clasps,
their white horses, gone.

And just like that, they were cats, the king’s son
an old grey tom with one eye cut shut,
and the others yowling behind, looking for cat words
to ask what had happened.

They dragged a cauldron with them,
and a cow, and now and then
they killed the cow
and boiled the best bits in the cauldron, and the next day
the cow stood there, good as new;
at least they never worried for their stew.

When the old maid-servant died, a twisting
burn of acid in her bed, her spells went too,
and the bag of cats
again become twelve huntsmen, their silver clasps
and horses restored.)

When they discovered the hut
the door was off, and the roof had fallen in,
and they rode on, up the hill trail
to the mountain,
and found Snow White, pretty in her pretty coffin,
under vines and old leaves.
The bones of the last dwarf lay nearby.

The king’s son looked through the crystal coffin,
and said, This is a king’s daughter, wronged.
Remove her to our court.

They carried her downhill, heavy
in her crystal coffin, but the footing was wet,
and the huntsmen slipped, and when the coffin dropped,
in Snow White’s throat the plug of apple
popped loose,
and she breathed, and lived.

                                    *

In the Queen’s garden, in the well,
the old fish went deep, and stayed.

                                    *

Snow White married the king’s son,
and to her wedding she invited nobles of those kingdoms,
except her father, who was long dead.

The old Queen, though, now reigning,
came with her retinue – what wasn’t gold
was silver − and passed among them
not recognising Snow White, except the raven hair,
the rosebud mouth
somehow so familiar…

Snow White
ordered iron shoes, stoked and stoked red as a witch’s eye,
to be clamped around the old Queen’s feet,
and the old Queen danced and danced,
and died, and Snow White,
turning her cold blue eyes along that company,

rose, and left the hall.