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Here, Bullet

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Here, Bullet.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Brian Turner(Author)

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HERE, BULLET is a harrowing, first-hand account of the Iraq War by a soldier-poet. Iraq war veteran Brian Turner writes powerful poetry of witness, exceptional for its beauty, honesty and skill. Like Keith Douglas's poems from the North African desert in the Second World War, Turner's testament from the present war in Iraq offers unflinchingly accurate description but no moral judgement, leaving the reader to draw any conclusions. Repetitive media reports show little of people s daily experience of the five-year war. In HERE, BULLET we see and feel the devastatingly surreal reality of everyday life and death for soldiers and civilians through the eyes of an eloquent writer who served in the US Army for seven years, with a year's tour of duty in Iraq as an infantry team leader. "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" - The Globe and Mail

The poems in HERE, BULLET are steeped in pity for the occupants of Iraq, while at the same time remaining on full alert to the likely moment "when a twelve-year-old / rolls a grenade into the room"...The most effective instrument in Turner's kit is his detachment... the particulars are so shocking that they need no sentimental boost... which is deployed in combination with complex feeling... There are poems in HERE, BULLET good enough to hold a place in any anthology of war poetry.' (In the line of fire: James Campbell asks where are the war poets of today) --James Campbell, The GuardianTurner attempts to capture the extreme experience of war by depicting the feelings it generates: the sense of loss, hatred, humiliation, love, uncertainty, and dreamy longing for a normal life. --Library JournalSeveral hundred books have now been published on the Iraq War...but none has felt necessary until now. There's something in the lumbering of prose that cannot capture what poetry, done right, can make immanent with its insistent beat...With Brian Turner's Here, Bullet, we have the first war poetry since Yusef Komunyakaa's DIEN CAI DAU that matters. --Rain Taxi

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Book details

  • PDF | 80 pages
  • Brian Turner(Author)
  • Bloodaxe; UK First Edition edition (10 Nov. 2007)
  • English
  • 8
  • Poetry, Drama & Criticism

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Review Text

  • By Herman Norford on 31 December 2007

    I first learnt about Here, Bullet by way of a radio programme discussion. I was impressed with what I heard and immediately vowed to read it as soon as I could. Having read the book I must say that it fulfilled my expectations.This collection of poems is set mainly in Iraq in the context of war. The author, Brian Turner, served 7 years in the US army part of which was served in Iraq as an infantry team leader. Although the experiences which Turner talks about in the collection are mainly set in the context of the Iraqi war, it would be a mistke to say that the whole collection is about war. In terms of conveying the human condition, the poems are far reaching.The poems in this book are derived from the personal experiences of Turner. He has a keen eye for detail. He has the imagination to render his experience in lively images that made me feel as if I was there along side him directly partaking in his experiences.Turner is a brilliant observer, he bears direct witness to events and actions. For example, in the poem, In the Leupold Scope Turner "travse the Halabjah skyline/scanning rooftops two thousands meters out" or in Observation Post # 71, Turner sees positive aspects of life even among the destruction of war. In the second stanza he tells us: "Each life has its moment. The sunflowers/ lift their faces toward dawn/ as milk cows bellow in a field of trash."There is also the wanton destruction and waste of life nowhere better suggested than in the title poem Here, Bullet. This destruction and waste of life is conveyed through a powerful theme that runs through many of these poems. Turner reminds us that we are made of flesh and blood. He exposes us to the frailty of the human body in the arena of war. In poems such as Here, Bullet and the Hurt Locker, Turner graphically reveals how the body is shattered when exposed to the machines of war.This collection of poems engaged me both intellectually and emotioanally. The poems Body Bags and A B Negative quite simply arrested me and made me pause to reflect upon what Turner was doing. These two poems superbly explores the harsh reality of death in war. In Body Bags, bodies: "look as if they might roll over,/ wake from a dream and question us/ about the blood drying on their scalps,/ the bullets lodged in the back of their skulls." Yet on the other hand, Turner recognizes that the arena of war is a test bed that sometimes brings out the humanity in us. I dare any sensitive reader to fail to empathize with the surgeon, in the poem A B Negative, who we are told end up as: "an exhausted surgeon in tears,/ his bloodied hands on her chest, his head/ sunk down, the nurse guiding him to a nearby seat and holding him as he cries."These are accessible poems. They have a clear setting, they are time bound and we know the predominant subject. But they are not simple tales of war. Turner is perceptive, subtle, appropriately complex and sophisticated when he has to be. For example, some of these poems paint pictures for us. It's as if they set out to create a firm vivid picture in our minds. The second stanza of 16 Iraqi Policemen is like a surrealist painting. It is not too difficult to conjure up an almost unreal, unnatural scene.If I have any criticism of the collection it is this, there is a tone of acceptance of the most destructive consequence of war - namely death. In many of the first person narrated poems the I of the poem, whoever that is, appears to accept his lot and death all too easily. In Here, Bullet the body as: "bone and gristle and flesh" is surrendered; in Repatriation Day, the narrator "wants to lie down among them,/ to be wrapped in sheets like the flags/ of nations, bonded in light and shadow."I could go on singing the praise of this collection but I am restricted by word limit. I was touched; I was emotionally and intellectually engaged. This is an outstanding collection of poems - buy it, read it and marvel in the fact that there is a contemporary poet among us with something to say about war and says it brilliantly.

  • By Guest on 13 January 2007

    Brian Turner's 'Here, Bullet' ably demonstrates that Turner is the natural heir to Wilfred Owen. His wholly authentic, deeply compassionate poetry based in the world of modern conflict have the unmistakable ring of actuality, unsuprising since Turner is a serving soldier in the US forces. His use of language is rich, masterful and fluid, the tone calm and insightful. This is beautiful and lasting work; poetry of a type so seldom seen these days. I cannot recommend this book enough and have given copies as gifts to all my friends.A superb collection.Joolz Denby

  • By J. Brown on 6 September 2011

    Brian Turner's intensely moving poems of the war in Iraq are finely observed,compassionate and questioning. He shows a appreciation and fascination for the culture of the people and the land as well as the tough camaraderie of the soldiers with whom he served. A soldier who saw active service in Iraq, these poems convey more deeply the brutal poignancy of warthan any news report. The language is direct, strong and compelling. This collection places Brian Turner in the company of the great war poets.

  • By The Book Witch on 25 June 2012

    This is one of the most moving and profound collections of poetry I've read in a very long time. And it's certainly the best collection of war poetry since Wilfred Owen. He tells it as it is, without sentimentality or a conscious desire to shock. What we feel is the pity of war as well as the horror of it at a very personal level. As Owen said 'the pity is in the poetry'.I particularly liked the quotes from Iraqi and Persian poets and the way the poet integrates what he is writing into their traditions as if having a conversation with them.Everyone should read this. We might be less keen to send young men to be torn apart and psychologically maimed in the name of some grand political ideology.

  • By trylz truthtalker on 18 April 2009

    Pares away the bellicose political retoric and exposes the tragic, often with desperate beauty, reality of war for the 'target' civilians and for the frequently forever scarred, soul and body, soldiers. Bush and Blair should be made to read it nightly.

  • By I. Robertson on 1 May 2006

    One of the best and most moving books I have read for many years. The result of the experience of a serving member of the American Army in the Iraq war, these poems are beautiful and terrifying. I can't reccomend it highly enough.

  • By Matt on 25 May 2012

    I first discovered Brian Turner's work after reading his essay in National Geographic magazine. What harrowing, heartbreaking scenes these poems conjure up!Turner is a gifted writer, an observant and intuitive artist and, clearly, a very sensitive human being. His work is an important document and is as vivid and evocative as the best photojournalism.

  • By Egil Henrik Lehmann on 31 March 2012

    Western literature started with a war book: The Iliad. War literature is important. Not only for the stories it tell about war itself,but also for what these books tell about its people - about the soldiers as well as the (other) victims.War poems, short stories and novels may reveal the evilness of war much better than newspaper reports and videos.More soldiers should write. Only thus, we can make the pen stronger than the sword. We need more books of this kind!


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