cover image Here, Bullet

Here, Bullet

Brian Turner, . . Alice James, $13.95 (71pp) ISBN 978-1-882295-55-5

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. (Nov. 1)