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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that will join the canon of great war-related poetry
After learning about Brian Turner in The New Yorker, I purchased a copy of "Here, Bullet." I have just finished reading it cover to cover, and it is one of the finest collections of poetry--especially pertaining to warfare--I have ever read. For Publisher's Weekly NOT to give this book a starred review is astonishing; indeed, their review above demonstrates, once again,...
Published on November 25, 2005 by Jon Burrows

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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent, but mostly strong.
Brian Turner, Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005)

I turn from Frank Miller's bloody paean to the Battle of Thermopylae to Brian Turner's quiet, lyrical book about Iraq. And I should probably start by saying that I hate protest poetry. Loathe it. The second the message becomes more important than the poetry, the poetry begins to suck. And thus, when I find a...
Published on March 5, 2007 by Robert Beveridge


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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that will join the canon of great war-related poetry, November 25, 2005
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This review is from: Here, Bullet (Paperback)
After learning about Brian Turner in The New Yorker, I purchased a copy of "Here, Bullet." I have just finished reading it cover to cover, and it is one of the finest collections of poetry--especially pertaining to warfare--I have ever read. For Publisher's Weekly NOT to give this book a starred review is astonishing; indeed, their review above demonstrates, once again, how profoundly ignorant they are concerning modern poetry. (Everyone in the poetry world knows that while PW's fiction and non-fiction reviews are quite solid, their poetry reviews are embarrassingly pedestrian.) As with any collection, there are some works in "Here, Bullet" that are stronger than others, but many of these poems are absolutely breathtaking. Turner has an exceptional gift for bringing images vividly to life, and his poems, overall, transcend the subject of war and capture emotions to which all readers will be able to relate. I highly recommend this book, and I believe that Turner--like Brooke, Owen, Sassoon, and McCrae before him--will become one of the most celebrated literary voices of his generation.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound, deep, moving - everything poetry should be, February 19, 2006
By 
doc peterson (Portland, Oregon USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Here, Bullet (Paperback)
Brian Turner's poetry about his experiences in Iraq are, in a word, excellent. I could hardly believe that Publisher's Weekly panned it the way they did. Turner is not a Sassoon, Owen, or Graves, the war poets of an earlier age - his is a more contemporary voice. The opening poem, "A Soldier's Arabic" clearly demonstrates this - it is a poem not just about war, but about separation, love, tragedy and confusion. The entire collection shows the irony, sadness and yes, beauty of the Middle East.

"What Every Soldier Should Know" and "Ashbah" haunt me still with the raw emotion presented on the page. "Sadiq", "Last Night's Dream" and "9 Line Medivac" express feelings common to any combat soldier with a power rarely seen in literature. "Night in Blue", one of the final poems in the book, is a fitting way to conclude the collection, providing a sense of closure as Turner describes his journey home.

I hesitate to compare Brian Turner to other authors who have written of their combat experiences. The comparison only fits in that they are all veterans; _Here, Bullet_ is unique, profound, haunting and troubling. It is honest - which is as much as anyone can ask of a poet. Highly recommended.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Tim O'Brien of Iraq War Poetry, February 16, 2006
By 
This review is from: Here, Bullet (Paperback)
Brian just spent two days at Virginia Military Institute as a guest of the Institute and the English Department where I teach. His reading last night and his readings in my classes today were among the best poetry readings I've ever heard. The poems in this collection can alternately sear themselves into your memory with their startling, and yet inevitable, images of the heartbreaking carnage of war, or transport you to a ruggedly beautiful landscape of delicate flowers, quiet night skies and the redemptive power of rain. This collection brings the war home in an urgent and slightly different way than we are accustomed--not the snapshots of the photojournalist, the terse dispatches from correspondents or even the handheld video of the networks. It works its magic by engaging our imaginations and our humanity, and for that everyone should be grateful.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Inconsistent, but mostly strong., March 5, 2007
This review is from: Here, Bullet (Paperback)
Brian Turner, Here, Bullet (Alice James Books, 2005)

I turn from Frank Miller's bloody paean to the Battle of Thermopylae to Brian Turner's quiet, lyrical book about Iraq. And I should probably start by saying that I hate protest poetry. Loathe it. The second the message becomes more important than the poetry, the poetry begins to suck. And thus, when I find a book of poetry that can be described as "overtly political" that's actually halfway worthwhile, I sit up and take notice pretty quick. And Turner's book is the first one I can remember reading since Carolyn Forche's Gathering the Tribes two decades ago.

This is because Turner understands one of the basic truths about poetry: "show, don't tell." If you just lay the images out before the reader, the reader will pick up the underlying situation. In other words, credit your readers with having half a brain. Turner, much to his compliment, does, and as a result he can take the current hot-button issue and turn it into something, unlike the reams of protest trash that entire rainforests have had to die for, that actually looks like poetry:

"....Because Hussein's arm is scarred

elbow to wrist from the long war with Iran,

he holds the trowel in his left hand, pushing

mud against a bullet-pocked wall, the cement

an appeasement..."

("Trowel")

That's about as overt as it gets in this collection, and it's obvious that Turner has spent a whole lot of time thinking as much, if not more, about the presentation of image as about the presentation of message. Take note, protest poets, because in one slim volume, Brian Turner has managed to make the rest of you look like fools. ***
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Sadness, February 26, 2006
This review is from: Here, Bullet (Paperback)
Beautiful, elegant poems that strike to the heart of the contradictions and paradoxes of the War in Iraq.

Haunting images, intricate craftsmanship, writing that has

heart, guts, passion, and grace.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, March 22, 2006
This review is from: Here, Bullet (Paperback)
Just as Michael Casey's book of poetry on the Vietnam war, "Obscenities," was must reading, so is Brian Turner's book of poetry on President Bush's ongoing war in Iraq. There's something intimate and yet at the same time instructive about these poems, as if the narrator takes you by the arm and serves as your personal guide. This is not the stuff of pundits and op-ed writers, thank goodness, but a private, honest, and haunting view of the war. "2000 lbs.," on the effects of a 2000 lb. bomb going off in an Iraqi city, should be read by every American, regardless of political party or stance on the war.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Listening With Heart and Mind, January 14, 2007
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Here, Bullet (Paperback)
Jean Cocteau has written "The poet doesn't invent. He listens." Brian Turner demonstrates the truth of this idea in his 2005 Beatrice Hawley award-winning book "Here, Bullet" as he listens, and records, voices of palm trees, zoo animals, dying soldiers, women hanging out laundry, Arab poets, and his own soul. If you want to move behind the daily news to gain both a historical and a contemporary sense of Iraq and Islam, if you can face the pain and beauty of centuries of stark geography and its influence on people, and if you are searching for truth and hope in a quagmire, buy and read "Here, Bullet". This is not a book to check out of the library for an overnight read - although libraries owe it to their patrons to buy a dozen copies. This is a book to own and ponder.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid rendition of the war in Iraq that you won't get from the mass media, February 10, 2006
This review is from: Here, Bullet (Paperback)
After hearing Brian read some of his poetry, I decided that this was a volume worth purchasing. Upon investigating, I was thoroughly surprised to find that only one person had reviewed this book on Amazon. Given the readability and timeliness of the material, I would have expected it to have found a much broader readership.

The review excerpt on the back of the book says worlds about "Here, bullet":

"The day of the first moonwalk, my father's college literature professor told his class, `Someday they'll send a poet and we'll find out what it's really like.' Turner has sent back a dispatch from a place arguably more incomprehensible than the moon - the war in Iraq - and deserves our thanks..."

- The New York Times Book Review

Irrespective of the reason Brian decided to forgo a more traditional career path and seek out experience as an enlisted soldier, we are in his debt. His prose presents a vivid picture of the beauty of the desert nation as well as the violence that punctuates the life of its inhabitants. Though not qualified to judge the poetic merit of Brian's material, I feel strongly that his feel for the language, coupled with his experience with a war that promises to galvanize a generation, will make him an interesting poet and author to keep track of in the future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you don't read poetry...., February 24, 2007
By 
This review is from: Here, Bullet (Paperback)
Even if you don't read poetry, you should read "Here, Bullet." Although an avid reader, I've never found much poetry to which I could relate. But Brian Turner's book placed me back in Iraq. Full disclosure: Turner contributed to the Random House/NEA anthology, "Operation Homecoming," and so did I, although I have never met him. I recognized his name when I saw "Here, Bullet" on the shelf at an Air Force BX. I opened it to a random page, and it stopped me in my tracks. Turner is the Kipling of this war.

If you want to come as close to the war experience as the written word can take you, read "Here, Bullet" and "Operation Homecoming." (And if you're reading this, you're already on Amazon, so you can order both at the same time!)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Work of an Iraq War soldier-poet, May 9, 2007
This review is from: Here, Bullet (Paperback)
From his personal experience in this horrendous war, Brian Turner

has carved out a slim volume of poems. With the fighting still

going on, Turner's words about the dead and the dying made me

cry. They brought me back to the soldier-poets of World War One,

writers like Wilfred Owens and Siegfried Sassoon, and how little

has changed.

Joan Kanel Slomanson

New York City
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Here, Bullet
Here, Bullet by Brian Turner (Paperback - November 1, 2005)
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