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Here, Bullet [Paperback]

Brian Turner
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Dec 2007
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
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Paperback: 71 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books (1 Dec 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882295552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882295555
  • Product Dimensions: 21.7 x 14.2 x 0.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,466,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


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 Guardian

Turner 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 Journal

Several 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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Brian Turner served for seven years in the US Army. He was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq from November 2003 with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. In 1999-2000 he was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 10th Mountain Division. Born in 1967, he received an MFA from the University of Oregon and lived abroad in South Korea for a year before joining the army. His poetry was included in the VOICES IN WARTIME ANTHOLOGY published in conjunction with a feature-length documentary film. HERE, BULLET (Bloodaxe, 2007) was first published by Alice James Books in the US in 2005, where it has earned Turner nine major literary awards, including a 2006 Lannan Literary Fellowship and a 2007 NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Important Collection of Poems 31 Dec 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Poetic Voice 13 Jan 2007
By Joolz
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
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply Moving War Poetry 6 Sep 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Here, Bullet 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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moving and Profound 25 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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.
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