Constructing the Human
2001. 123 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-08-4; ISBN-10 3-901993-08-8
Constructing the Human by Estill Pollock is an examination of the inner self, a profoundly moving journey of exploration, from the landscapes of the present and the recently remembered past, to the cataclysmic happenings of the past centuries as they have affected him and his forebears. The mood ranges from sobre to melancholy to ecstatic, and carries us along with him as he surveys those people and events which have brought him to this point. This is mid-life crisis resolved in stately iambic hexameters and subtle rhyming patterns. He holds his material, and us, at arm's length while he orders the various components into manageable stanzas. The resulting book is remarkable, presenting a tension between the orderly shapeliness of the poems and the chaotic content of his own life, brought to heel by the power of language. [...] Through the elegance of his language and the slightly formal style he has chosen to write in, he becomes not the subject of the book, but the guide to a long and complicated journey, which at some time in our lives we all essay. His long narrative lines, reminiscent of Browning with echoes of that other ex-patriot American poet T. S. Eliot in his erudition and competency with form going back to the classical authors of narrative verse, place him firmly in the great body of English poetry. But the final judgement has to be of content, and in that regard Constructing the Human is an extraordinary book. [...] it is a fine example of the poet's craft in selecting the most appropriate English for the task in hand, searching for the truth, both opening windows into the soul.
Barbara Ellis, Tears in the Fence 32, Summer 2002
John Mingay, "Rescuing Time from the Guttering Wick", Terrible Work, November 2002
"What could be argued is that Pollock is too busy with the outside world to do justice to the inner. But this would be too shallow a view. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As a collection, it provides a detailed model of the writer's psyche throughout a large chunk of his lifetime. And when it comes down to it, you can't travel much further than that!"
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