paper • 49 pages • 14.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-884800-75-7


Forrest Hamer



To say about it one thing. No, two. It was a horror. It could not be spoken.
So first there was the problem of recovering speech.
Calling out to it, listening each other.
We looked to the assurances of nature—regular violence, regular relief.
Color splayed before us—yellows, rhythms of red.
Faces and patterns in faces. Patience.
Finally, a word, but not many.
Silence again, longing.
More words but not what happened; words we had already said.
Horror holding, a black hole. Opening a little,
Then a little more, then: we could think about the horror: what happened
A kind of speech, but not yet.

Praise by American Book Review
Praise for Call and Response
Praise for Middle Ear

“Precise and controlled, these poems have wit and intelligence: they are never sentimental or arch. Empathy and love pervade them: one feels throughout them that father, mother, brothers and sister, aunts and uncles, grandparents and elders, and ancestors have equal claims to be heard. And this, far from being a burden, is the source of the poems’ great wisdom: for if all these souls in the continuum of souls have a right to be heard, so does the son and poet.” —American Book Review

“His poetry moves with seeming casualness and ease, and it deftly opens deep and complex issues of identity—identity explored in the dimensions of race, family, generation, sex, psychology, and religion…. [an] impressive first book.” —The Hudson Review

“For Hamer, the middle ear serves as a metaphor for and gives shape to the imagination. In many of these poems, the imagination fills the gaps left in perception by faulty senses…. Hamer eloquently captures this process of sensory translation over and over in these poems, the imagination sketched in motion.” —Electronic Poetry Review