Thursday, April 05, 2007

National Poetry Month Recommendation: Here, Bullet

Anthony Swofford's Jarhead was an amazing book. If you haven't read it, do.

And when you've finished that powerful memoir of a man at war, follow it up with Brian Turner's poet equivalent Here, Bullet.

Turner served in the U.S. Army and spent time in both Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iraq. Before that, he earned an MFA at the University of Oregon. Here, Bullet, a collection of poems about the war in Iraq, won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award. Deservedly.

Heck, save the Swofford. Read the Turner first.

Here's a selection from the titular poem:

If a body is what you want,
then here is bone and gristle and flesh.
Here is the clavicle-snapped wish,
the aorta"s opened valves, the leap
thought makes at the synaptic gap.
Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,
that inexorable flight, that insane puncture
into heat and blood...

It's powerful stuff, frank and fearless in its observations. Here's another bit from "In the Leupold Scope":

With a 40X60mm spotting scope
I traverse the Halabjah skyline,
scanning rooftops two thousand meters out
to find a woman in sparkling green, standing
among antennas and satellite dishes,
hanging laundry on an invisible line

The irony of that image is clear, but arresting all the same.

It's a fine book.


  1. Wow. Powerful, topical stuff. A Wilfred Owen of our times.

  2. Aeneas also, though he's always blasted for service to Rome right? Virgil is. So be cautious.

    The Hood Company


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