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ISBN: 978-1-62557-833-4
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Categories Poetry

Call and Response

Publication Date: February 2021


In Rob Carney’s eighth collection, the titles call out in one voice and the poems respond in another, sometimes directly, sometimes diagonally, but always memorably. The book begins with a current event that sparks a time-travel quest for justice, and then keeps on journeying: from Utah to the ocean; from humor to elegy; from lessons learned at Sea School, to a man who makes money as a silhouette, to a literary church and final congregational Amen. Among the forty poems here is one titled “I’ve Still Got My Passport.” Think of this book as a passport too. It’s a trip.

Rob Carney reads for the Black Lawrence Press Virtual Reading Series



Sparse lineation and sly humor are prevalent in Call and Response, but the navigation of loss is at the center of this collection. Ever the myth maker, Carney blends vulnerable humanism and Robinson Jeffers-like naturalism with the honestly inquisitive sensibilities of Neruda’s Book of Questions. The result is a funny, sad, and subtly powerful book that I’ll return to often.  
—Nano Taggart

Rob Carney is tuned to some amazing frequency—it comes from 500 North and Morton, it comes from beyond, it comes from when we were wooded slopes—but he listens and returns with these poems, thrumming with “lifeblood,” these songs which throw down and call out (see “Poetic Justice”), which are often rich with praise but never falsify. Sure, one might want to “lovetalk” nature but nature will always kick our ass. It’s always there, underneath us, “with teeth.” I find this book both serious and joyful. Call and Response is such a good journey. 
—Kate Northrop

Rob Carney’s Call and Response reads like a book of testaments. In poem after poem, with memory shouldered like “a broken moon,” Carney dares to imagine a generous and habitable world where even rivers have rights and animosities toward refugees have ceased from natives who don’t “zero them out”—a world where movement is inevitable, change is welcome, and the pursuit of justice and empathy isn’t naive and futile, but urgent, clear-eyed, and worthwhile.    
—Abayomi Animashaun

About the Author

Rob Carney

Rob Carney is the author of seven books of poems, including Facts and Figures (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle 2020), The Last Tiger Is Somewhere (Unsolicited Press 2020), co-authored with Scott Poole, and The Book of Sharks (Black Lawrence Press 2018), which won the 15 Bytes Utah Book Award for Poetry and was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Accidental Gardens, a collection of 42 flash essays about the environment, politics, and poetics, is forthcoming from Stormbird Press (Parndana, South Australia). Carney is the recipient of several honors for his work, including the Robinson Jeffers/Tor House Foundation Award for Poetry. He is a Professor of English at Utah Valley University and lives in Salt Lake City.

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