Call Me Spes

THE BOOK: Call Me Spes.


THE AUTHOR: Sara Cahill Marron.

THE PUBLISHER: Madhat Press.

SUMMARYThis is a novel in verse. An operating system narrates the world around it, consisting of overheard conversations, emails, voicemails, communications of love and lament. In order to understand and congeal what she learns through her User, Spes orients herself through her environment, the people her user are meeting or encountering. Call Me Spes challenges the reader to look deeply at the relationship between technology and humanity, pointing to a pinnacle of identity understood through community.

THE BACK STORY: This book started as a collection of ‘voices’, similar to Spoon River Anthology. A collection of stories organized merely by geographic location, such as the way a cell phone chronicles our significant locations in order to learn our habits. I thought that this was enough to tell the story I wanted to tell: that our choices, hobbies, bus rides, stolen conversations with a stranger, are more meaningful than to be mere quitodian moments. The way we move through the world, informs how we perceive it. What was lacking was a narrator; therein, Spes, was born. When meeting her, I had to understand and listen to her confusion, her questioning, her maturity into a fully formed character. It was this zenith that made clear to me what I hope Call Me Spes illuminates for readers: basic building blocks of connection are as universal as binary code. At the core, we are as similar as binary zero’s and one’s, and as complexly different as the programs sprouting from them.

WHY THIS TITLE? The word “Spes” was the goddess of hope in ancient Roman religion. Hope was also the last thing clingy to the edges of Pandora’s box. It is this goddess that I want to meet, and so my character adopts her name.

WHY WOULD SOMEBODY WANT TO READ IT?  This book is not just poetry, in fact it is more novel than a collection of poems. This is a love story that I think everyone can find a piece of themselves in, especially as we, as a society, move into a future screened and lit by more than just our reading lamps. Please do let me know, via a google or Amazon review, if you’ve enjoyed this book. More than praise, I want to hear from you, and hear your experience of passing through the inferno to heaven, guided by, I can only pray–hope. 


“What a beguiling, intriguing, and evocative book is Sara Marron’s Call Me Spes. It entails a Virgilian journey undertaken by its disembodied narrator, an iOS device who gradually becomes aware of the nature of its User’s needs and increasingly cognizant of our ubiquitous human longing for connection. Simultaneously, this elusive narrator overhears a diverse chorus of plaintive voices, and thereby struggles to expand its understanding of people’s complexity and pathos. With an eloquent power, Call Me Spes charts how our suffering, pain, and loss may be relieved through our hopefulness and yearning for love. Marron’s highly original book offers us a memorable exploration into the impulses, obsessions, and durability of the human heart.” — —Maurya Simon, author of The Wilderness, 2019 Benjamin Franklin Gold Medal in Poetry.

“Sara Marron’s new book brightens the world with innovative lines and animated poems. This cumulative tale is storytelling at its highest—tenderness combined with jazzlike words set against “data mixing” idioms. You don’t have to know Dante’s Divine Comedy to enjoy the journey because iOS will be your narrator. Current computer language, ie: “pixels” and “coding,” share the page with ancient thrusts of danger, loss, and love. I applaud this writer’s poetic will, her originality, range and dynamic -beyond personality and flair—to become a poetry inventor.  Call Me Spes is a literary adventure.  — Grace Cavalieri, Maryland Poet Laureate.

The operating system of this book seeks to find poetry in an online universe of eclectic voices, with dramatic monologues popping up from members of a human chorus seeking jobs, love, information, good times, spiritual sustenance. You feel like you’re sitting in on an AA meeting filled with tales of desperation or concealed near a prison pay phone listening to inmates talk to their loved ones. Sara Marron asks, “d0es this 100k like Eng 1 ish?” Call Me Spes does not always resemble conventional writing, but these inventive texts uncover the real language of contemporary screen-life—“a hopeful/desire code/ hope hope/they/can read/ that code.” —Terence Winch.

“To say that Sara Marron’s Call Me Spes is a tour of various contemporary Infernos and Purgatorios by way of memory as recorded and as learned by computers in computer language is to suggest the detached and disembodied voice of a machine, but what the computer has recorded is in fact a set of hard lives caught in the process of fragmentation. The computer learns their language, however imperfectly, and tries to apply it to a relation of love addressed to the user. The result is a virtuosic commedia-tragedy: a disembodied yet weeping god’s-eye view of human desperation.” —George Szirtes, poet, translator, T.S. Eliot Prize winner for poetry.

AUTHOR PROFILE: Sara Cahill Marron is a native Virginian living in Long Island, New York. She is a lawyer by day and poet at all hours. When not writing or reading, she surfs the chilly East Coast shores of New York and runs as far as her legs will carry her.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: Natural Language Programming affects us all, because we encounter it everyday. Whether you’re a computer novice, expert, or just interested, as I am, I hope that this work evokes a conversation about how we are coding ourselves.


LOCAL OUJTLETS: Lost City Books; Patchogue Library; or request at your local bookstore!

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, from the Author herself (send an email) or from the Publisher’s website.

PRICE: $20.

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:, Instagram and Facebook: @filitpoet

Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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