Few first collections contain such range: from the intensely personal to the objectively scientific to the imaginatively speculative. Call/Response is wise even as it pokes fun at wisdom. The speaker has suffered and yet he mocks his suffering. The book is driven by joy, a genuine embracing of the world’s mechanisms and motions, whether it be an oil well’s piston, or a father’s affectionate gesture frozen in time. The people, places and things of this world have called to AR Dugan, and this is his brilliant response.

 

John Skoyles, author of Suddenly It’s Evening: Selected Poems

To read AR Dugan's Call/Response is to experience a poet fashioning, in poem after poem, the precise instrument he needs for the particular inquiry he is making. This acute attentiveness to language, to its movements and motives, its potential to mislead us, results in a poetry that asks honest and complex questions. Ask: How do you feel? / Say: I remember. Ask: Are we still thinking? Say: Our old self / and this new one, / imagine. The responses to Dugan's calls are always made of memory and imagination; therein lies their honesty because they are all we ever have with which to answer, and their beauty because such questioning lifts us from habit, wakes us, delights us, restores us to wonder.

 

Richard Hoffman, author of Half the House and Noon Until Night 

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