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Iain Haley Pollock

William RhodenIain Haley Pollock's first collection of poetry, Spit Back a Boy, won the 2010 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. New work recently appeared in the Poetry Society of America's "In Their Own Word" feature.

Iain lives in Philadelphia and teaches at Springside Chestnuthill Academy, where he serves as the Nathan Teaching Chair for English. In addition, he is on the faculty at the Solstice MFA Program of Pine Manor College.


 

Spit Back a BoySpit Back a Boy

Iain Haley Pollock’s poems cover the ground from a woman late to catfish supper to an ancient queen who howls, “Sea, you is ugly,” from the creaking of slave ships launched from Lancaster to gunfire on a contemporary Philadelphia street. Such lyric moments find grounding in stories woven through this book—in one story line, a boy with a black mother and white father wishes he could shed his white skin or carve into what lies beneath: “I flung my almost white self / into my mother’s embrace—that brown / embrace I hoped would swallow me whole / and spit back a boy four shades darker.” Another thread follows a marriage and a woman intertwined with hunger and the blues, a woman who hears a whale song in a refrigerator’s hum, who cries hard like the lonely barking of a fox.