These smart, funny, beautifully crafted poems show us a whole life lived wholeheartedly. The various parts intertwine, just as they do in the book, which is one arc rather than separate sections. The riveting voice that leads us through them is sometimes refracted by other personas: The Deaf Woman, Letitia, the Black Dog, and Gregory, a talking stone. The poems touch on food, love, the natural world, politics, joy and despair, illness and aging, and mortality, but always return, finally to joy and celebration. They dare us to be fully present in our lives.
–Sharon Bryan, author of Sharp Stars
The best company has intelligence, humanity, conviction, and some je ne sais quoi factor: mischief; lovability; great dance moves. Risking It is that kind of company. Sylvia Byrne Pollack writes with relish about mortality and long love, deafness, the “frizzante bubbles of mania” and depression, from Mona Lisa’s erotic life to rabbit test subjects to a soulful beach rock named Gregory. Pollack’s poems are intimately familiar with the dark–especially her alter egos, Letitia and the deaf woman–but counter it with the bright glow of playful language and a keen, reverent mind. “Even the gristle/ goes into our mouths, is chewed on.” This collection is a delight.
–Kathleen Flenniken, author of Post Romantic