On the Shores of Welcome Home

Bruce Weigl. BOA, $17 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-942683-89-6
Weigl (The Abundance of Nothing), a Vietnam War veteran, delivers a meditative study of the torment of PTSD, characterizing war-related trauma as a disease: “Like a virus, you can bring another country home with you and not even know,” and an incessant haunting, “The dead people I see are not happy when they know that I see them.” In “Act of Contrition,” the speaker explores the moments that sustain him when life seems unbearable, such as the call of birds in his backyard (“something more human/ than you might expect”) that generates thoughts of spiritual transcendence: “It isn’t god that I’m thinking about/ but something like a god.” Elsewhere, the stirring of tree branches is a movement that “looks like the shiver that love brings/ to your neurons right down to the cells.” Weigl’s personal reckoning with trauma is juxtaposed against the title poem’s polemic against war, a lengthy plea for empathy and tolerance that establishes war, police brutality, mass shootings, and anti-immigrant sentiments as intricately connected through a web of violence Americans have been taught to accept as necessary. While the poet’s language is occasionally abstract, his candor and originality when contemplating his own experiences offers readers an immersive and insightful tableau of the psychological effects of war. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/11/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
Hardcover - 100 pages - 978-1-950774-09-8
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