Synopses & Reviews
Adding his voice to the current debate about the US occupation of Iraq, in poems written in the tradition of such poets as Wilfred Owen, Yusef Komunyakaa (Dien Cai Dau
), Bruce Weigl (Song of Napalm
) and Alice James' own Doug Anderson (The Moon Reflected Fire
), Iraqi war veteran Brian Turner writes power-fully affecting poetry of witness, exceptional for its beauty, honesty, and skill. Based on Turner's yearlong tour in Iraq as an infantry team leader, the poems offer gracefully rendered, unflinching description but, remarkably, leave the reader to draw conclusions or moral lessons. Here, Bullet is a must-read for anyone who cares about the war, regardless of political affiliation.
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, that leap
thought makes at the synaptic gap.
Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,
that inexorable flight, that insane puncture
into heat and blood. And I dare you to finish
what you've started. Because here, Bullet,
here is where I complete the word you bring
hissing through the air, here is where I moan
the barrel's cold esophagus, triggering
my tongue's explosives for the rifling I have
inside of me, each twist of the round
spun deeper, because here, Bullet,
here is where the world ends, every time.
"The verse in this book is not good, but it is, in a cultural moment that includes Cindy Sheehan, timely. Turner served seven years in the U.S. Army, including deployment to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division, and a year spent as an infantry team leader with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 2nd Infantry Division in Iraq. He, begins, after a prefatory poem ('This is a language made of blood./ It is made of sand, and time. To be spoken, it must be earned'), with poems whose titles precisely describe their contents: the nightmarish dispersal of 'The Baghdad Zoo,' the infamous 'Hwy 1' ('the Highway of Death'), 'The Al-Harishma Weapons Market,' 'Body Bags,' 'Najaf, 1820,' 'Dreams from the Malaria Pills,' 'Katyusha Rockets,' 'Observation Post #798,' '2000 lbs.' (in one bomb) along with medevacs, translators, civilians and much more. Turner earned an M.F.A. from the University of Oregon before joining the army. His work is straightforward and direct. It highlights the violence and death of the war in a manner little seen elsewhere." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"With Brian Turner's Here, Bullet, we have the first war poetry since Yusef Komunyaaka's Dien Cai Dau that matters....Where Turner does succeed in making us see, he also succeeds in making us feel in bringing the weight of war upon us." Rain Taxi
"Here, Bullet is a book of poems about the war in Iraq, written by a veteran whose eye for the telling detail is as strategic as it is poetic....Hypersensitivity...[is] the supreme gift of the poetic observer, and it's in that dangerous territory where Turner does his work." Globe and Mail
"Turner's most consistent mode is one of brisk, precise and nonpartisan attention to both the terrors and the beauty he found among Iraq's ruins. In these poems, Iraq emerges from the fog of political oratory into tangibility." New York Times Book Review
A first-person account of the Iraq War by a solider-poet, winner of the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award.
A harrowing, beautiful, first-person account of the Iraq war by a soldier-poet, winner of the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award. Turner's HERE, BULLET is exceptional for its beauty, honesty and skill: "If a body is what you want,/then here is bone and gristle and flesh./Here is the clavicle-snapped wish..." Based on his yearlong tour in Iraq as an infantry team leader, the poems offer gracefully rendered, unflinching description but, remarkably, leave the reader to draw conclusions or moral lessons.
About the Author
Brian Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon and lived abroad in South Korea for a year before serving for seven years in the US Army. He was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq beginning in November 2003 with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1999 with the 10th Mountain Division. His poetry has been published in Poetry Daily, The Georgia Review and other journals, and in the Voices in Wartime Anthology.