Call It in the Air

Call It in the Air is simply one of the greatest elegies I have ever read.”—KIESE LAYMON
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Somewhere between elegy and memoir, poetry and prose, Ed Pavlić’s Call It in the Air follows the death of a sister into song.

Pavlić’s collection traces the life and death of his elder sister, Kate: a brilliant, talented, tormented woman who lived on her own terms to the very end. Kate’s shadow hovers like a penumbra over these pages that unfold a kaleidoscope of her world. A small-town apartment full of “paintings & burritos & pyramid-shaped empty bottles of Patron & an ad hoc anthology of vibrators.” A banged-up Jeep, loose syringes underfoot, rattles under Colorado skies. Near an ICU bed, Pavlić agonizes over the most difficult questions, while doctors “swish off to the tune of their thin-soled leather loafers.” And a diary, left behind, brims with revelations of vulnerability nearly as great as Pavlić’s own.

But Call It in the Air records more than a relationship between brother and sister, more than a moment of personal loss. “I sit while eleven bodies of mine fall all over the countless mysteries of who you are,” he writes, while “Somewhere along the way, heat blasting past us & out the open jeep, the mountain sky turned to black steel & swung open its empty mouth.” In moments like these, Pavlić recognizes something of his big sister everywhere.

Rived by loss and ravaged by grief, Call It in the Air mingles the voices of brother and sister, one falling and one forgiven, to offer an intimate elegy that meditates on love itself.

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8.5 × 5.5 × 0.5 in
7 oz

Ed Pavlić

Ed Pavlić is the author of Call It in the Air and Visiting Hours at the Color Line, as well as a novel, Another Kind of Madness.

Praise and Prizes

  • “Pavli​​ć offers a vulnerable, visceral portrait of life and grief.”

    Publishers Weekly
  • “Pavli​​ć’s Call It In The Air is a stunning meditation on grief, told in a suspension of prose poems spreading from the 1970s on until present day….Tenderness can be seen throughout Pavli​​ć’s writing, which is pure and straightforward, pulling no punches. Pavli​​ć does not hide behind flowery writing or extreme extended metaphors. This is the powerful writing of grief, the lines and forms strong and clear.”

    West Trade Review
  • “We talk so much about permission, but seldom do we talk about soulful persuasion. More than any book I’ve read this decade, Call It in the Air pushed me to accept the absolute experience of grief, in all its abundance. Pavlic at first appears to do the heavy work of grief and assemblage for us, but he does more than that; he holds us slightly as he asks us to name what we see as we float, fall and flee. Call It in the Air is simply one of the greatest elegies I have ever read.”


    Kiese Laymon
  • Call It in the Air is an intimate record of grief and turmoil within family, sister, and self. Their voices cut across time and geography, from the early 1970s to the present, from ‘Near Buena Vista, CO’ to ‘Denver I.C.U.’ to ‘Salida, CO,’ and out along ‘I-80 E,’ forming a cartography of pain and failing body—eyes, liver, kidneys, feet, hands, and ‘nails black from the inside-out with blood.’ As he traverses between place and memory, his dying sister and himself, Ed Pavlić paints an intensely beautiful self-portrait: ‘I sit with a tissue, dizzy-ready.’ Ed Pavlić and Kate Pavlich: eternally bound by a love ‘misspelled.’”

    Don Mee Choi
  • “At the center of Ed Pavlić’s Call It in the Air is a profoundly honest and deeply loving account of a brother’s bottomless grief. In language that is at once haunted and haunting, vivid and vulnerable, this book reconciles the darkest shadows of our memory with the light those we love leave behind.”

    Lacy M. Johnson
  • “Pavlić’s elegiac, genre-bending work considers the life and death of his elder sister, Kate, questions whether individuals can ever understand each other, and writes into and against the stronghold of personal loss and grief.”

    Publishers Weekly, Top Ten Poetry Collections for Fall 2022