Tag Archives: Frederick Pollack

Neon Literary Magazine Issue Forty-Four

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In this edition of Neon we visit the quaint yet dystopian English town of Scarfolk, observe mysterious goings on in a grand hotel, meet a rather more respectable imaginary version of the president of the United States of America in a dream prison, sit in on a number of brutal executions (one historical, one sexual) and witness the creation of some seriously amazing fantasy inventions. There’s a graphic short story by acclaimed illustrator Stephen Collins, and some beautiful illustrations by Jia Sung, as well as fiction and poetry by Thomas Evans, Elizabeth Sackett, Ed Cottrell, Cheryl Pearson, Frederick Pollack, Eric Shattuck, Molly O’ Brien and James Hodgson.

Neon is pay-what-you-want to download, and costs just £4.00 for a physical copy. In its perfect-bound format each issue is around 70 pages, and is photo-illustrated in black and white.

Published winter 2017 (print and online).

“Grand Hotel” By Frederick Pollack

As a courtesy, the government man
lets the manager sit in on
the surveillance. But the cameras
are the hotel’s, and the manager thinks
it’s his courtesy. The other agents
in the room could set him straight,
but their chief signals them to stand down.
On the screen they’re watching,
a man viewed from the ceiling in green light
uneasily sleeps. Earlier they saw him
boringly, unhappily prepare
for bed. This man (the agent explained
with a frankness that pleased the manager)
represents democratic forces
in a small, important, troubled, distant land;
tomorrow he’ll sleep elsewhere,
and tonight his foes will not kill him.
On other screens, in remote stairwells,
men in helmets and armor
unobtrusively lurk; plainclothes types
(the manager knows the look) sit
neatly, here and there, in the lobbies.
The manager observes his usual screens.
On 30 North a girl is locked out
of her room. No – she’s looking
at herself, not in a mirror,
but in a polished panel of the hallway
wall. Will she kiss that reflection?
No – she leans her brow against it.
Will she hit her head against it?
Should he send someone? Can he? On 12 South,
a large man in an expensive
though markedly disheveled suit
(Why hasn’t he put on our nice white bathrobe?
the manager wonders), clutching a bucket,
confronts an ice machine. Seems unable
to interpret it, weaves back and forth
as if praying. The SWAT teams – if that’s the proper term
with feds – take one step up
in their secret stairwells and stop,
like martial angels ascending. Here and there,
in (the manager checks
a readout, smiles without prurience) nine percent
of the rooms, lovers thrash. The kitchens
gleam and are gratifyingly hectic
without chaos. On 50 South
the Thing appears. Maids give it various
Spanish names, but their silence has been bought.
Behind it, scuffs and mildew manifest.
Its grey skin, eyes red
with inscrutable rage, grief
or allergies fill the manager
with professional hate and worry. Of course It won’t
appear on the tapes. Should he ask
the government man for help? Now’s not the time.
In the North Tower bar, entering which
(critics say) is like strolling into
an Old Master, a somewhat older
man and somewhat younger woman
gaze off at angles. “She couldn’t–”
says the woman, and the man: “He–” The manager
adjusts his earphones to block
the jolly noise of the bar. “After a while
none of it meant anything,”
says the woman. “Even the kids?”
the man asks. She possibly sighs.
“He tried as hard as he could–” says
the man, without asperity. But noise
returns, a dropped tray, and what the manager hears
next is something from her about
“values,” how they can’t be just put on
like a dress. He agrees; more vigorously:
“It’s better in hotels,
isn’t it? Someone else to change the sheets…”
Intrigued, the manager misses
the moment the soldiers
begin to mount the stairs. When he looks,
those screens are dark, and so is the room
of the foreign personage. The agent,
pressing his own headphones, scowls for silence;
then rises (his team has exited), thanks
the manager for his patience
and patriotism. Reassures him
no guest and no routine has been disturbed.
“Was he attacked?” asks the manager. “We had to
extract him,” says the agent.
“But he’s safe?” “Of course,” the agent smiles;
shakes hands and leaves. Though it’s late,
Reception is crowded: a boisterous group has arrived.
Huge SUVs pull up, depart;
and if one appears
at a loading dock and leaves with strange cargo,
the manager knows he has no need to know.


Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, and a collection, A Poverty Of Words. Another collection, Landscape With Mutant, is to be published in 2018 by Smokestack Books. Many more of his poems appear in print and online journals.

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News: 2015 Forward Prize For Best Single Poem Nominations

Forward Prizes 2015

Every year I nominate some poems from Neon for the prestigious Forward Prize For Best Single Poem. This award, administrated by the Forward Arts Foundation, seeks to reward the author of the best individual poem published in a magazine, newspaper or journal in the previous twelve months. It comes with a top prize of £1000. Best of luck to the four nominees, listed below.

“He Asks Me To Call Him” – Laura McKee

“God And Me” – Kate Wisel

“Good In A Room” – Frederick Pollack

“Poem In Which You Unfriend The Dead Girl” – Sam Preminger

You can either read these poems for free in a previous issue of the magazine, or pre-order a copy of the upcoming issue in which they appear. Now’s an excellent time to place a pre-order, as issue forty is due to be published in just over one week’s time!

Neon Literary Magazine #39

Image by Davyd Samuels

In issue 39 of Neon everything goes wrong. Parties become nightmares, bridges collapse into bays, a house fire consumes possessions, cars freeze over and life plans dissolve into nothingness. But if that all sounds a bit depressing it’s worth mentioning that there are also dinosaurs and quicksand-related adventures and an elephant that nobody seems to want to speak about, even when it’s drinking their tea. Contributors to this issue include James Nixon, Tracey Iceton, Debra McQueen, Emily Rose Cole, Alex Sword, Colin Bancroft, Jasmine Chatfield, Matthew Di Paoli, Jack Houston, Gerard McKeown, and Frederick Pollack. The cover image is by the very talented Davyd Samuels.

Neon is free to read online, and costs just £4.00 for a physical copy. In its new, perfect-bound format each issue is around 70 pages, and is photo-illustrated in black and white. Free copies of Neon‘s first ever pamphlet (the intriguingly-titled Selected Timelines: Past & Future by Holly Jensen) will be distributed along with this issue.

Published winter 2014 (print and online).

“Quicksand” by Matthew Di Paoli is now available as a Neon Single in PDF, EPUB and MOBI formats.

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“Failure Day” by Frederick Pollack

Image by "beermug"

The One Percent’s more gung-ho bitches
bitch that their taxes go towards
this holiday. None do. It’s private,
mid-spring when the crops burn.
Pink slips tend to appear around that date;
roaches swarm, and jellyfish.
Spouses leave, and the one left waits
for talk-show hosts’ routines about the day.
At their desks, despite stern memos,
the employed for a moment contemplate
without distance, analyze without theory.
Motivational speakers have
their hands full, sweat more than usual.

The fact about when hybrid batteries
die is well-established; don’t tell me
it’s coincidence. In the arts,
kids wonder whether a Personal Style
is possible or if it’s even uncool
to think of. In his cave,
the last ecstatic of an unknown faith
embraces the dull sky and cries,
You are my sunshine. Bars
tactfully add an hour to Happy Hour.


Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press. His other poems appear in print and online journals and he is an adjunct professor in Creative Writing at George Washington University.

Back To Issue #39

News: Issue #39 Preview

Issue 39 Preview

Issue 39 of Neon is currently at the printer, and should be arriving very soon. The official publication date is 27th October, but you can already pre-order a copy of the magazine if you want to get your hands on it as soon as possible. This issue will include the work of James Nixon, Tracey Iceton, Debra McQueen, Emily Rose Cole, Alex Sword, Colin Bancroft, Jasmine Chatfield, Matthew Di Paoli, Jack Houston, Gerard McKeown, and Frederick Pollack. The cover image is by the very talented Davyd Samuels.

Not only that, but Neon‘s first ever chapbook The Naming Of Cancer by Tracey S Rosenberg is due to be published at the end of November. You can find out more about it here, and pre-order a copy of the first printing here. The Naming Of Cancer is the first in a series of very exciting chapbooks that Neon will be publishing over the next year or so. The second, titled A Week With Beijing, is due around January 2015. Keep an eye on the chapbook’s home page for a preview of the cover image soon!