From Category: Poetry of War
By Charlie Bondhus
This masterful, heart-wrenching collection, winner of the 2013 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, brings the poetry of gay male love and the poetry of war together with unprecedented candor, but the story this book tells is more elegiac than celebratory of civil rights victories. The alternating narrators, a veteran of the Afghanistan war and his homefront lover, seem free from their forerunners' self-conscious anguish about sexual orientation. They can admit openly how sex between men is like martial arts grappling, how killing can be orgasmic and the camaraderie of soldiers more intimate than lovers. However, the unbridgeable rift of combat trauma still forces them apart.
By Pamela Uschuk
By Pamela Uschuk. Uschuk is a shamanic poet, invoking the spirits of animals, mountains, and forests, to heal a world that humans have spoiled with war and greed. This poetry collection from Wings Press also gives a voice to her family's ghosts, starting with her Russian immigrant ancestors, and moving on to her late brother and first husband, who were permanently scarred by their service in Vietnam. Nature imagery is a great strength of Uschuk's writing. These are not stylized, sentimental birds and flowers. They are "cliff swallows taking needles of twilight/into their open beaks, stitching/sky's ripped hem." They are the "red velvet vulva of roses" and "yellow ginkgo leaves/waxy as embalmed fans warm[ing] grave stones". Their specificity helps the reader believe that these sparks of life are just as real as the scenes of atrocities that surround us in the news media. Their beauty pulls a bright thread through the darkest stories she tells.
By Robert Randolph
Luminous poems depict the spiritual tragedy of warfare through the idealized figure of the dead child, who amazingly deigns to comfort us with her beauty even as she indicts the ways we fall short of true humanity. The title poem in this prizewinning collection from Elixir Press took first prize in the 2003 Winning Writers War Poetry Contest. The book cover and design are also first-rate.
By Brian Turner
Recently returned from the Iraq war, this former infantry team leader depicts the agony and adrenalin rush of combat, as well as the moments of unexpected stillness and beauty in a soldier's precarious life in a foreign land. This striking debut collection won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award from Alice James Books.
By Doug Anderson
Vietnam veteran's searing, lyrical, dark-humored poems relate the surreal horrors and feverish pleasures of that war to a wider tradition of Western moral and literary struggles with our capacity for destruction. Anderson weaves a tapestry of connections between the Trojan War, Vietnam, and the drug-fueled violence of our streets. Winner of the 1994 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Don't miss his most recent collection, Blues for Unemployed Secret Police.