The first full-length poetry collection from art historian David C. Ward, Call Waiting combines wry meditations on twenty-first-century life, work and family with observation of America - its landscapes, its history, its social and foreign policy. Ward's poems are peopled by those who seem never quite able to inhabit their own lives: from well known figures such as Andy Warhol and vanished poet Weldon Kees ('Case closed. / No body was ever found') to Ward's own father, a nighthawk playing poker against himself in the early hours. The book's final section turns an unflinching gaze on the post-9/11 USA and its self-deceptions: 'He knew what he knew and / did not know / what he knew was / not America'.
David C. Ward is an historian at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, where he has curated exhibitions on Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln, among others. With graduate degrees from Warwick University and Yale, he is the author of Charles Willson Peale: Art and Selfhood in the Early Republic (2004) and (with Jonathan D. Katz) Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture (2010). His exhibition Poetic Likeness: Modern American Poets opened at the NPG in Autumn 2012. His pamphlet of poems Internal Difference was published by Lintott Press in 2011 and his verse was anthologised in New Poetries V (Carcanet, 2011).