Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Brian Turner's Here, Bullet

Now I know many of you have heard of this book of poems, Here, Bullet by Alice James Books, and have probably already read it but I just found it in my library and had to share it with all the poetry readers out there. If you haven’t read it, I assure you, it’s a page turner! Brian Turner writes from first hand experience regarding the war in Iraq, and before anyone stops reading because they’re sick of the war, let me assure you once again that it is a page turner in the best sense of the word. These poems don’t gripe or whine, they are raw and suspenseful moments in the life of a soldier. If you have served our country, or even if you haven’t, you will find yourself nodding wide-eyed and disappear into the words of these poems.

Before I begin, let me tell you that you are in luck because some of these poems can be found on the web and I have included a link or two to Fish House below so that you may experience them for yourself. Click on the second link and scroll towards the bottom to find another set of links to his individual poems and read/listen to them and come back to this post.

This link is to an individual poem that I found to be the most central of the collection:
“2000 lbs.”
Listen to Mr. Turner explain and read this poem. This poem captured my every fiber as I read it and then to hear him on this site just made it that much more intense.

The majority of the poems I had marked to discuss are already available as live versions from the Fish House and I urge you to listen to them and hear the poet first hand.

One poem that isn’t available is titled “Hwy 1” which I also dog-eared in the book and will talk about here. He opens with the lines “It begins with the Highway of Death,/ with an untold number of ghosts” and describes the history of this road. “This is the spice road of old, the caravan trail/of camel dust and heat,…” he speaks of the spices that were carried, of the different cultures that passed through. The ending made me gape in horror and it seems a small thing but he speaks of cranes nesting on power lines and then: “…when a sergeant shoots one from the highway/it pauses, as if amazed that death has found it/here, at 7 a.m. on such a beautiful morning,/” and I wonder why amidst so much turmoil and death would a soldier have to shoot a crane? An innocent bystander living out its life posing no threat whatsoever and then this soldier, who could surely have used the bullet to save himself later, shoots a bird in his nest. Why waste that bullet on a crane? I decided to talk about this poem because it drew me up short, I was angry at this poem. Of all things to be happening in the midst of this book with people dying or injured or trying to make sense of the world, why would something so careless occur? Is this particular soldier numbed by death, or so angry with the senselessness that he in turn takes on a senseless act? It is a poem I recommend that you read for yourself and see if you have the same reaction. Mainly, it is a poem that caught me off guard so I thought I’d include it here. If you are able to find a copy of this book you may have the same reaction.

I hope you get a chance to find this book and read it if you haven’t already. In the meantime, you should definitely take advantage of the excellent link below leading to his powerful poems just a click of the mouse away.


Thank you for reading, please stop by tomorrow for more Poems Found By Poet Hound…


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Thanks very much for pointing us this way. I've reserved a copy at the library after reading a couple of these powerful poems.

Don @ Lilliput Review

Poet Hound said...

My pleasure as always!