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The Emma Press


Call and Response

Call and Response


Call and Response is a short pamphlet of sonnets by Rachel Spence. With illustrations by Emma Wright.

“July 1976, your garden, midnightish.
Our worlds distilled to nothing save each other
and this bewildering heat. I hear you
padding down the stairs – morphine trickle
of a mother’s footsteps – beg you to let me
stay while you find whisky, deckchairs.
The lawn is dry as a ship’s biscuit, but we are
watered by the scent of your tobacco plants.
My winter’s bone is being old enough to know
I don’t know what you’re thinking. Not even
when the owls come. Two, maybe three,
their beatless wings spellbound against
earth’s pull. Ten seconds we’ll remember
all our lives. We know it, even then.”

Paperback ISBN 978-1-912915-48-4
Publication date: 26th March 2020
Page count: 28

GTIN: N/A SKU: 9781912915484 Categories: , , , Tag:

Rachel Spence

Rachel Spence is a poet. Now living in London, she spent nearly ten years in Venice, Italy. She has a pamphlet, Furies (Templar, 2016), and a collection, Bird of Sorrow (Templar, 2018). Her poetry has appeared in publications including PN Review, Envoi, The Indian Quarterly, The Frogmore Papers, Southbank magazine and Iota. Her poem "Antonello’s Song II" was included in the Forward Book of Poetry 2019. In her day job she is a freelance arts writer, chiefly for the Financial Times.


Call and Response is a letter from a daughter to her mother, recalling the time of the mother’s illness. Hard-edged yet tender, the poems explore the darker side of familial bonds and the strange ways suffering can heal old wounds.

With black-and-white illustrations by Emma Wright.

Watch Rachel read from Call and Response:

Additional information

Dimensions 11 × 17.8 cm

Print, eBook

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