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Transom:
Many of the poems in this issue seem to coalesce around themes of darkness and light. In what ratio of shade or illumination do your poems thrive? Does a dark poem need light, and vice versa?

Pollokoff:
Oh, I’m super excited about this theme (and I can’t wait to read the rest of the issue)! To offer an answer, though, I’ll start by finding some footing. Thinking about your second question first, I’ll hesitantly suggest that light and dark aren’t exclusively symbiotic—a poem could invoke one quality without the other. I believe that this probably depends on whether you’re considering light and dark as literal representations of how space is perceived or whether you’re also including emotional implications of image and tone, relationship, etc.

A poem might not need both qualities, but I’ll suggest that I enjoy poems when both are present. Light becomes more joyous; dark, richer, when offset by their opposite—just as how paintings that feature chiaroscuro, strong light-dark contrasts, nearly glow off their canvases. However, light and dark are fickle and flighty. On any given day—at any given moment—a reader might see or understand or hear darkness or lightness based on tangible experiences of their day, the light (or shadow) in the room, a current mood. So the reader is intimately involved in the quality and ratio of light and dark in any given poem. Perhaps that’s what I search for, then, in both writing and reading poems: dark and light that, on the surface, hint at balance, all the while pulling the reader in a direction that fulfills what they’re subconsciously looking for.

Transom:
Each of your poems ends with the erasure of individuality—in the first, the heron bends “to eat itself,” while in the second piece, the dynamic between the sisters seems to form a self-reflective, self-reinforcing “zero.” Does infinity require the body to be consumed?

Pollokoff:
Wow! Infinity! That’s big. I’m not sure I can speak to how infinity affects the body in its entirety. Or, maybe this is more question of consumption—is it really consumption? Or expansion? Or envelopment? In infinity, wouldn’t the body have to change in some way to not be consumed by such a vastness?

Both of the bodies in these poems are surrounded by circumstance and action and do undergo some final transformation. But in their respective contexts, are the bodies consequence or instigator of each final moment? Perhaps in addressing the poems’ new states, I needed the body to consume itself in some way in order to continue to exist in its newfound present. So then I might return to the beginning of your question: am I erasing individuality? Or just changing what that individual is? I’ll have to keep thinking about that.