The Calling

SKU: 978-1-64317-152-4

Bruce Bond

Free Verse Editions
Edited by Jon Thompson

Information and Pricing
978-1-64317-152-4 (paperback, $14); 978-1-64317-153-1 (PDF on CD or by email, $9.99). (c) 2021 by Parlor Press. 74 pages.

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What People Are Saying

Midway through The Calling this appears: “I am learning to be two people, as voices are both voices /and the music in them.” There is no contemporary poet more aware of this fact as opportunity than Bruce Bond, whose music, whose severe and certain music, powerfully compels all the voices at his disposal throughout this book—all those journalists, children, and parents whose voicings became the poet’s. The politics of this book is an esthetic as glorious as the politics of the era in which it arises is debased: “I was looking back from a time / where I too would be speechless. / The earth green. No. Greener.” The Calling succeeds in making beauty where there had been pain, which is the great gift of poetry. —Bin Ramke

Bruce Bond’s remarkable book-length sequence manages to be many things at once—a searing indictment of the Trump imperium, a bittersweet elegy for the author’s father, a tractate, a lamentation, a prayer. It is a vexed book for our vexing times. The collection’s stance—in the tradition of contemporary masters such as Milosz and Geoffrey Hill—is an admixture of sorrow, rage, and wonder. This is a book of hard-won consolation, a talisman against our bewilderment. —David Wojahn


Bruce Bond’s meditative sequence of poetry entitled The Calling explores the act of naming as critical to survival—biologically, psychologically, and ethically—and yet no less an obstacle to attention, empathy, and the realization of a functional republic.

About the Author

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-five books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, SIU Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse, 2018), Plurality and the Poetics of Self (Palgrave, 2019), and Words Written Against the Walls of the City (LSU, 2019).  Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at the University of North Texas.


Each word for Muslim or boy or bloodline now. It lies across another. | The one who names is nameless and one | When I say wind, I see leaves and call them wind. | This is a story that ends in a desert landscape | The sun that dissolves the names of the rivers, it lifts them up. | Cruelty understands so little of its object, | Everything we see arrives a little late | II. | You can hear the tremor of the ouds of ancient Morocco  | Music is quick, lithe, incisive as a bullet, | The gun that takes the elephant down, | Long ago the signature of the Lydian ascension | The trumpet lies down with the daylight in its casket | Beneath the bells and tremors of the tower, all the angels are kids,  | To each the silence | The other side of lamentation is the shape it makes. | III. | Every voice an epitaph, and then a little tune | The girl who clings to her mother’s skirt at the polling station | In his final year, my father grew tomatoes. He knelt | Every night | One day | I am searching my ballot for the nameless. | The light that leaves the body in the morning, | When I gather what the nameless left, | I read it in an old book: | IV. | I carry a face | And if one I knew and loved should feed | And I will wonder | Is the cry a cry  | When the answer cannot be put in words, neither can the question be put in words. | V. | The passports of the tombstones | As a child I learned and forgot and learned again | Bidden or unbidden, God abideth. So says the tomb | Bidden or unbidden, dream visits the sleepless man, | I have a friend who lost the memory of a year from his childhood, | The smell of smoke and roses in a bar, | To every infant, the daze of arrival. | There is the silence of abundance and that of abandon, | Out of nothing, the fire of affluence and that of ruin. | Acknowledgments | About the Author | Free Verse Editions

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