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Northrop Frye at Bowles Lunch

by James Pollock

“I have had sudden visions.”

Bloor Street, Toronto, 1934

3 a.m. in the all-night diner, dizzy
with Benzedrine and lack of sleep, old books

and papers scattered across the table.
With his pen, his Dickensian spectacles,

his pounding, driving Bourgeois intellect,
he charges into a poem by William Blake

with two facts and a thesis, cuts Milton
open on the table like a murdered corpse

and spins it like a teetotum until
he’s put each sentence through its purgatory

and made the poet bless him with a sign:
thus (though perhaps one can picture this

only from a point outside of time)
he sees the shattered universe around him

explode in reverse, and make the flying
shards of its blue Rose window whole again.


James Pollock's poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Del Sol Review, and elsewhere, including several magazines in his native Canada, among them Maisonneuve, Canadian Literature, and The Fiddlehead. His critical reviews and essays have been published in Contemporary Poetry Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, Canadian Notes & Queries, and other journals. He teaches poetry in the creative writing program at Loras College and lives in Madison, Wisconsin. ( 10/2010)

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