Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Here, Bullet by Brian Turner

I learned about Here, Bullet by Brian Turner by listening to a free podcast from the ITunes Store. Of course, ITunes got the audio of the story about Turner from The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, which has a series of poetry interviews. Later I found that the video is available on the PBS website.

Here, Bullet
is a collection of the poems that Brian Turner wrote while stationed in Iraq with the 2nd Infantry Division of the US Army. As you can imagine, he found many subjects about which to write, and his poems are filled with startling images. Readers meet a father with a child in his lap while he oils black market weapons, a woman who hangs the garments of the dead on a rooftop clothes line, and a private who commits suicide. They see the animals from the Baghdad Zoo roaming the streets, an exploded BMW that lands on a store, and plenty of bloody casualties. In one poem American ghosts wander the streets watched by Iraqi ghosts on rooftops. In several Turner drives the dangerous highways.

Despite the terrible situation, there are moments of beauty that Turner notices. The sun calmly rises in the morning. Birds hover over the Tigris River. "Observation Post #71" tells about listening to an owl in the night. "Cole's Guitar" describes music sparking thoughts on the beauty home.

Here, Bullet seems to have been overlooked in my area. Only one library had a copy. It should be more available.

Turner, Brian. Here, Bullet. Farmington, Maine: Alice James Books, 2005. ISBN 1882295552

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