Equivocal (Alice James Books) | 2006

Julie Carr’s second collection explores the elements of chance and mystery that determine human identity and relationships. In delving into the human fascination with the self’s story and the boundaries between the self and others (including family), these poems pose often unanswerable questions, but the reader delights in the wit and artistry used to explore them.



“Deeply concerned with her relationship with her mother, children, and god, the speaker in the poems returns again and again to the mysteries, frailties, and intensities of all three of these relationships.”

American Poet


“The stalwart energy, risky invention, and luminous intelligence of this book make the air clearer, the world lighter, and give company to those who grieve.”

Jean Valentine


“It is nothing less than thrilling to see the delight, the pain, the opposition, the contradiction, the logic and the illogic of the mysterious, unlanguaged correspondences between mother and child, child and mother, and then adult and mother meet such a fierce intelligence. And there is brilliant formal invention. Like nativity itself, all seems eternally spun on end.”

Gillian Conoley


"In her first book, Mead: an Epithalamion (2004), Julie Carr employed marriage as both a theme and as the starting point for her poetic inquiries into relation and interconnection. Her second book, Equivocal (2007), goes a step farther in its scope, exploring specifically the roles and bonds of mother and child, and of child-becoming-mother, as well as opening into questions of family, history, and identity. In this investigation, Carr seeks to confront issues of an individual’s responsibility to others, whether they be a child, parent, spouse, or the world itself. “What prepares me for this particular pain,” she asks, setting the book’s tone, “the pain of leaving things as they are — /of taking them as they are?”?

Andy Frazee for Jacket Magazine