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Phantom Noise Paperback – April 1, 2010
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"In Phantom Noise, the speaker recognizes the degree to which language is a co-creative of reality...and as such, these poems begin to interrogate the speaker’s entanglement in acts that he had heretofore largely only recorded.”The American Poetry Review
"[Turner's] writing is crisp, reportorial, earnest... [He] challenges us to experience war at its worst and confront its human costs without ideology or nationalism."The Georgia Review
"In many ways, this is not a collection for the faint-hearted, dealing as it does with deaths and mutilations. However, its scope is broader than that, as it also skillfully looks at history, culture, love, and family."The North
"[Turner's] is a poetry of horror, but also one of love and loss, infused with the restless spirits of the dead who hover over the living on both sides...His is a voice of honesty and despair, of imperfection and a self-awareness that most of us can only pretend to possess."Connotation Press: An Online Artifact
"Turner's book of poems is something that transcends poetry..."New Pages
"Turner's second book, Phantom Noise, continues to bear witness...looking on with equal parts courage and concern, but also as a poet whose language is always drawing comparisons, shifting the picture to encompass not just one tragedy, but a world's worth..."Salamander
"Turner's resilient, humane poems remind us of war's impact but also provoke and question."The Guardian
"It's hard to think of a better way around ideology than poetry like this. Turner shows us soldiers who are invincible and wounded, a nation noble and culpable, and a war by turns necessary and abominable. He brings us closer to our own phantom guilt and speaks the words that we both do and do not want to hear."The Washington Post
"...we need [Turner's] bracing bullet-borne language” as he tries to reconcile the chaos of Iraq with the demands of the poetic line."The New York Times
About the Author
Brian Turner earned an MFA from the University of Oregon before serving with the US Army as an infantry team leader in Iraq. He has been featured on National Public Radio, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and the BBC. He has received an NEA Literature Fellowship in Poetry, the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, and a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation.
Top Customer Reviews
I found this volume of poetry different than a lot of modern poetry and it was appealing for that reason. My first thought was that Turner doesn't read like your typical bourgeois MFA professor-poet that dominate the world of modern poetry. But Turner does have an MFA and he is a professor. He is able to transcend conventions and designations that society heaves upon us, and it comes through in each of these poems. Neither he nor his speakers are just a war veteran or professor or poet or father or lover or survivor or witness to trauma - there is an amalgamation of all. His speaker's are fully fleshed human beings weaving intense narratives that are capable invoking emotive empathy.
Given the highly polarizing subject, Turner's poems are never polemic or didactic. His most sacred duty as a poet is as a witness and in this capacity he vigilantly serves the reader as genuinely as he has served his country. This was a fantastic volume of poetry that I will be reading and re-reading for some time to come.
These poems don't condemn. They don't preach. There's no paean to patriotism here, nor - God forbid - glory. There's only the clean, crisp, English line stating blunt facts with vivid imagery, with a beauty and an acceptance that allows Turner to put inside our own heads what it must be like to be ripped from civilization, sent through hell, and then returned to civilization, our world newly peopled with demons we can't cast out. Ever.
Powerful stuff, these poems. Leaders who must send us to war should read them before doing so to understand the full measure of the butcher's bill that will be paid.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Turner's poetry is concise and poignant. His observations about war and their devastating quality on both physical geography and mental condition enable his work to be pointed and... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Buck
Brian Turner is a wonderful poet who tells of the horror of war in Iraq . He is right up there with the other War poets from previous wars . Read morePublished on March 22, 2014 by Janette V. Field