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Phantom Noise Paperback – 30 Oct 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd (30 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852248769
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852248765
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.7 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'With courage and an uncommon willingness to see the world as it actually is, Brian Turner returns in Phantom Noise with a bullet-borne language in which helicopters hover like spiders over a film of water. His poem Al-A'imma Bridge alone proves his mastery, and joins him to the tradition of Wilfred Owen and David Jones, for he is their descendant, his poetic gifts detonated into a spray of lyric force that will mark what is possible in poetry for years to come, a chiseling of agony onto paper and a poignant cri de coeur to the republic of conscience.' --- Carolyn Forché.

'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.' --- The Guardian ("In the line of fire: James Campbell asks where are the war poets of today")

'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

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. His collection Here, Bullet (Bloodaxe Books, 2007) was first published in the US by Alice James Books 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. In 2009 he was given an Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship. His second collection, Phantom Noise is published by Alice James Books in the US and by Bloodaxe Books in the UK in 2010.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr Neil Astley on 19 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
Tracy Bentley's review above came as a shock to Brian Turner and his publishers Bloodaxe Books. The copy she received must have been mangled somewhere in the production or distribution process. Brian is arranging to send her a signed copy - that's how much he cares about his readers.

As to the pages being 'poor quality', that is simply not true. The book is printed on high quality acid-free white paper. This kind of paper will not discolour, rip or break up after ten years, as happens to the kinds of paper used by many other publishers. There's a widespread belief that off white paper is somehow better but it's not. So our white paper is actually high quality paper, not poor! All the printers we use source their paper from mills with FSC & PEFC chain of custody certification - an assurance that wood comes from a certified, properly managed forest. This book, like all our books, also has sewn and glued binding. The glue is called Instant-Flex 718 which allows the book to be splayed open without the spine being broken. Unlike the glue used by mass market publishers, Instant-Flex 718 is not brittle, and will not crack after a small amount of handling, and because the binding is sewn as well as glued, the pages will not drop out. It is also a chemically-based glue not derived from any animal product, and only contains waxes and polymers. As with choice of paper, we have been concerned to maintain both durability and quality in making our production decisions about the kind of binding we use. I am sorry that Tracy got a rogue copy, and I hope that Brian's gesture and this comment will offer amends for that.
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Format: Paperback
Brian Turner's Phantom Noise was his long awaited follow up to Here, Bullet. Those of us who were excited, thrilled and disturbed by Here, Bullet were kept waiting 5 years for Phantom Noise. In this collection Turner returns to a familiar subject and some of his past themes. On this occasion, however, Turner writes from a supposedly distant perspective of California but haunted by memories, reflections and the juxtaposition of past and present - a juxtaposition that is so lively and vivid that at times the reader could be forgiven for thinking that Turner was back on the battle fields of Iraq.

Turner with his direct experience of war, as first person narrator of many of the poems in the collection, conveys his dreams and reminiscences of the past very clearly. The phantom noise and experience such as: "I can see the Turkish cook with Sharapnel/in the back of his head, his mouth still foaming./beside him the dead infant from that cold blue morning," belongs to another place and time but it is hard to distinguish whether or not Turner is still in that place - the arena of war. But then, as if to increase the ambiguity, as opposed to the world of phantoms we are awaken to the reality of Turner's plight when in the same poem, Perimeter Watch, Turner asks: "Where is my M-4? My smoke grenades?/my flack vest and plates of body armor? I wander the house/searching for them, hear the 12-year old voice outside/the front door - where is my father?"

Many of the poems are littered with horrible repeated features and incidents of war. I suppose brilliant realised in a poem entitled The Inventory from a Year Spent Sleeping with Bullets. The poem is laid out against the usual shape of a poem taking the form prose to make an inventory of the narrator's experience.
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He is a poet of witness, writing powerful and compelling works. His poems give unflinchingly accurate descriptions leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions.
I feel that his earlier experience of other cultures made him an unusual American soldier with a broader view of conflicts than is the norm.
It was my privilege to introduce Brian Turner's poems at our Poetry day at Huddersfield University with the Holmfirth Writers' Group.
I read out 'Phantom Noise' and 'Helping her Breathe'. I felt that the two poems were such a contrast in pace and theme that it gave a glimpse into his range.
There is optimism in the last poems in the book that gives hope that he will continue his writing beyond the constraints of war.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Bentley on 9 Nov. 2010
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Firstly, I must say that I paid full price for this book and that I was very disappointed with the poor quality of the publication. Not only are the pages of poor quality but the cover and pages themselves are all creased in the edition which I received. On to the poetry: I absolutely loved Here Bullet and would recommend it to anyone interested in beautiful, haunting poetry. Strangely, Turner's language has both a modern realistic bite but manages to be lyrical too. I was really excited about reading Phantom Noise because I imagined that he would have integrated his war experiences within the writing style that he had already developed. This didn't seem to be the case. I still have to read some more poems but it does seem that Turner runs the risk of becoming a spokesman for the common soldier (no mean role, but tragic with so much poetic talent) a minor war poet, instead of the classical modern life poet that he was and could be.
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This book of poems is indescribably powerful. It is about men coming back from war - these men who are vicious and heroes in equal measure. This dichotomy of human nature. You feel viscerally what it is like to come back from a bullet torn place to a front porch where there's nothing going on. I can't recommend both of Brian's books of poetry more. He is a remarkable remarkable writer.
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