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Uniform Paperback – April 14, 2016
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About the Author
Lisa Stice received a BA in English literature from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) and an MFA in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She taught high school for ten years and is now a military wife who lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. You can find out more about her and her publications at:
lisastice.wordpress.com and facebook.com/LisaSticePoet
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And so begins what Lisa calls “the long-needed conversation.”
The moment I heard about this new book over at the Military Spouse Book Review, I knew I wanted to read it. Although my husband, an Air Force fighter pilot, retired twenty-five years ago, I still identify myself as a military spouse. Like they say, once a military spouse, always a military spouse. If I could add a subtitle to this book, it would read, Uniform: How to Make Do. Because the military lifestyle requires that we make do with what we have…and sometimes with what we don’t have.
You don’t have to be a poetry snob or aficionado to appreciate this collection. Both the military spouse and the service member will relate to each offering. As for civilians, I highly recommend Uniform to those who care about our military and wish to understand our culture.
Kathleen M. Rodgers, author of novel, Seven Wings to Glory
Much of Stice’s book is familiar to me and would be to anybody who served. The love-hate thing with Uncle Sam. The cycles of training and deployment. I find myself nodding in familiarity, but seeing it from a whole different perspective. A new perspective that should’ve been apparent to me for 20 years, but wasn’t until now.
In “Memo to the Wives” and “Corps Value” there’s a line that says childcare will not be provided. Events happen that should be a good deal to attend, but you can’t go because nobody can watch the kids. Nothing says service more than a Catch-22.
Stice writes “Where are you?” in a couple poems when hearing about accidents and injuries, hoping that her husband isn’t involved. “In Training” and “The Pit Opened Up” brought this up well. I’m not sure I understood how terrifying it is to just not know.
“Family Readiness”: I wrote a letter to my family to be opened upon my death. This poem made me realize what it must be like to know the letter exists and prepare for the possibility that it might be needed.
“Family Day”: Attendance not mandatory / but expected. Mandatory fun is definitely part of military life.
There’s a one-two punch in the book that had the biggest impact on me. In “Deployment Notices” Stice shares some platitudes that people say like, Some time we’ll have to / have you over for dinner. Sure, people say things that are well meaning, but when they don’t follow through, it sucks. My favorite poem in the book is “Words From Friends.” It’s the knockout punch of this combo. The last line is just killer. Your friends probably aren’t being intentionally mean when they say things, but that doesn’t matter. When you’re a raw nerve, unthinking comments have the same effect as malice. Buy the book. I’d buy it just for “Words From Friends.”
In “The Night Before Deployment,” Stice talks about her need to trust in the training her husband has received as he leaves. Then she laments, but where was my training? She had on-the-job training, I suppose. But you can learn from Lisa Stice. Call it your own training. Call it what you want. Just go read Uniform.